Clinton tops list of 2016 presidential hopefuls: CNN Poll

Washington, Dec 31 (IANS) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said time and again that she wouldn't run for president again, but a new poll indicates that if she changes her mind, she would be the Democrats' top choice.

Clinton, who is planning to retire after four years as America's top diplomat, would get the support of 85 percent of Democrats and independents who lean towards the Democratic Party if she runs for the Democratic nomination, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Sunday.

There's a slight gender divide, with 93 percent of Democratic women saying they'd be very or somewhat likely to support Clinton, who lost in her bid for Democratic presidential nomination to then senator Barack Obama in 2008. That figure drops to 79 percent among Democratic men.

Clinton has repeatedly said that she intends to retire to private life once Senator John Kerry, Obama's choice as her successor, is confirmed by the Senate and she's added that another run for the White House is not on the cards for her.

"Look, I'm flattered. I am honoured," she told CNN earlier this year about calls by other Democrats for her to consider another run in 2016. "That is not in the future for me, but obviously I'm hoping that I'll get to cast my vote for a woman running for president of our country."

Two-thirds of Democrats questioned say they would be very or somewhat likely to support Vice President Joe Biden if he runs for the White House.

Biden, who unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic nomination in 1988 and 2008, has not ruled out a third bid for president. On Election Day, when asked if it was the last time he'd vote for himself, the vice president said "No, I don't think so."

On the Republican side, losing presidential candidate Mitt Romney's running mate Paul Ryan tops the current list of 2016 hopefuls.

Three-quarters of Republicans or independents who lean Republican say that they'd be very or somewhat likely to support Ryan if he runs.

Fifty-nine percent of Republicans say they'd back New Jersey governor Chris Christie. One point behind Christie in the poll is Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, and 51 percent say they'd support that state's former governor, Jeb Bush.

Among the possible Republican hopefuls not included in the questionnaire are Louisiana's Indian American Governor Bobby Jindal, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman.

The CNN poll was conducted by telephone by ORC International Dec 17-18, with 290 Democrats and independents who lean Democrat, and 290 Republicans and independents who lean Republican.

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