- The Washington Times - Monday, December 8, 2014

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is outpacing her would-be Republican rivals in an early look at 2016 head-to-head presidential match-ups, as well as on favorability and key qualities voters are looking for in their presidential candidates.

Fifty-two percent of adults view Mrs. Clinton favorably in a new Bloomberg Politics poll, compared to 42 percent who view her unfavorably.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a possible Democratic rival for Mrs. Clinton if she runs, is at a slightly positive 45 percent/43 percent favorable/unfavorable split.

Thirty-two percent have a favorable view of GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, compared to 29 percent who have an unfavorable view.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is at a slightly positive 36 percent/35 percent split, and former Massachusetts governor and 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has a slightly negative 43 percent/44 percent split.

The other potential GOP candidates the poll asked about, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, are viewed slightly negatively. Mr. Bush has a 32 percent/37 percent favorable/unfavorable split, and Mr. Cruz has a 26 percent/29 percent favorable/unfavorable split.

Mrs. Clinton leads Mr. Bush, Mr. Christie, and Mr. Romney by 6 points in head-to-head match-ups. She leads Mr. Bush 43 percent to 37 percent, Mr. Christie 42 percent to 36 percent, and Mr. Romney 45 percent to 39 percent.

She leads Mr. Paul by 8 points, 45 percent to 37 percent, and Mr. Cruz by 13 points, 46 percent to 33 percent.

On four candidate qualities people said matter to them in deciding how they vote for president — shares your values, has a vision for the future, is a strong leader and cares about people like you — Mrs. Clinton also outpaced all five Republicans by between 3 and 21 points.

Overall, Mr. Romney was closest to Mrs. Clinton compared to other Republicans on those qualities. Forty-seven percent think she’s better at sharing your values, compared to 44 percent for Mr. Romney. Forty-nine percent think she’s better at being a strong leader, compared to 42 percent for Mr. Romney.

Fifty-one percent think she is better at caring about people like you, compared to 40 percent for Mr. Romney; she also has an 11-point edge on that question over Mr. Bush, Mr. Christie, and Mr. Paul. And 49 percent think she is better at having a vision for the future, compared to 43 percent for Mr. Romney.

Nearly 80 percent of voters say her having lived in Washington and worked in the federal government is more to her advantage than to her disadvantage. More than three-quarters of voters see her having served as Secretary of State for four years as an advantage, and two-thirds see her being married to former President Bill Clinton as an advantage.

About 6 in 10 see her having a run for president before and having served in the Obama administration for four years as an advantage, while 52 percent say her having close ties to Wall Street is more to her advantage, compared to 41 percent who say her having close ties to Wall Street is more to her disadvantage.

The poll of 1,000 U.S. adults was taken between Dec. 3-5 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

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