- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Democratic voters appear ready to get behind the would-be presidential campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton — but they also want to see an active primary challenge for Mrs. Clinton, a new poll said.

Mrs. Clinton was the preference of 48 percent of Democrats and “Democratic-leaning” voters to be their next nominee for president, far outpacing Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts at 6 percent and Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont independent, and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. at 2 percent apiece in a Monmouth University poll.

But 48 percent also said it would be better if Mrs. Clinton, the undisputed frontrunner, faced an active primary challenge, compared to to 43 percent who thought it would be better if the party got behind Mrs. Clinton early on in the nominating process.

“When nearly half of Democratic voters volunteer the name Hillary Clinton as their choice for 2016, it’s hard to deny that she is the clear front runner,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “At the same, time Democrats do not want the nomination process to be a coronation.”

Ms. Warren has repeatedly said she’s not running despite pleas from liberal groups for her to enter the race, saying Monday that “no means no,” according to masslive.com.

For her part, Mrs. Clinton will reportedly get the support on Tuesday from Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota — a reliably liberal voice in the U.S. Senate — according to MSNBC’s Ari Melber.

She also has the support of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, despite the group Democracy for America — originally founded by Mr. Dean and now run by his brother — expressing support for a Warren candidacy.

The survey of 1,008 adults, including 386 registered voters who say they are Democrats or lean toward the Democratic party, was taken from Dec. 10-14 and the smaller sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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