The Washington Times - July 23, 2012, 04:29PM

It remains to be seen whether voters will re-elect President Obama this fall but Iowa Democrats already have Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in mind as his successor in 2016, according to a poll released Monday.

The survey by Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling showed that 60 percent of Iowa Democrats want Mrs. Clinton as the party’s next presidential nominee, easily outnumbering the 18 percent who favor Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

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The Iowa caucus is the first race of each primary season and served as a springboard for Mr. Obama in 2008, where he won by eight points on the way to the presidency.

Primary season is still more than three years away, but the poll found little support yet for such lower-profile Democrats as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, who tied for third place at just 3 percent.

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia finished at 1 percent, while Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick garnered virtually no support.

The poll found that the 2016 Republican race also would be wide open in the event that this year’s presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney loses this fall and does not run again in 2016.

If their party has to select a new nominee in 2016, Iowa Republicans said they would favor Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee or former Sen. Rick Santorum, who tied with 17 percent. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie narrowly trailed at 16 percent.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was fourth at 11 percent, followed by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at 10 percent, and then other Republicans including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.