The next presidential election is still more than two years away, yet if Hillary Clinton runs as the Democratic candidate for president, she has a very real shot at winning the state of Georgia against all but one of the possible Republican rivals. That’s according to a new poll from the Public Policy Polling (PPP) organization based in Raleigh, N.C.
That would be a significant political shift in a state that gave Mitt Romney 53 percent of the vote in 2012 against Obama’s 45 percent.
The poll surveyed 520 Georgia voters by phone between August 2 and August 5. It found that the former Secretary of State, frequently mentioned as the current Democratic frontrunner for 2016, leads Tea Party favorite Rand Paul (R-KY) by a margin of 48 to 43.
She also has a 47/44 advantage over Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI); a 47/43 lead over Newt Gingrich, former GOP presidential candidate (and former Georgia congressman for 20 years); and ties Florida governor Jeb Bush at 45.
The only Republican with any advantage over Hillary Clinton right now in Georgia is Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor, at 44/42, the poll found. “She could make Georgia a swing state in 2016,” says PPP.
One important caveat is that the poll does not indicate how Hillary Clinton would match up against a generic Republican; PPP didn’t ask that question. Her name recognition far outweighs that enjoyed by virtually everyone on the list of Republican potentials.
HILLARY IN THE NEWS
The poll results come near the end of a week in which Hillary Clinton’s name has been in the news because of two proposed TV projects about her life to air on NBC and CNN. The four-hour NBC miniseries will star Diane Lane, though there’s no script yet. The CNN documentary to air in theaters next year is directed by Charles Ferguson, who won an Oscar for “Inside Job” a couple of years ago.
Rance Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, has complained to the two networks about media bias favoring Democrats. He says the Clinton biopics are apt to be “puff pieces,” released just when Hillary “is on the dance floor.” He says he’ll seek a binding vote preventing the RNC from partnering with these networks in the 2016 primary debates if they do move ahead with their programs.
'ROBUST ANALYSIS' NEEDED
Rick Lazio, the former New York Republican congressman who ran against Hillary Clinton for the Senate in New York in 2000 and today advises GOP members of Congress on policy issues, acknowledges that Clinton “is a pretty dominant candidate in the Democratic field and would preempt most of the other Democratic candidates if she were to run.”
Many things could play out between now and then, of course. Lazio says there must be a “very thoughtful and robust analysis of what was accomplished during her time as Secretary of State and what the impact was” of her role in that position. “From my standpoint, if you looked at Syria, Russia, Korea, Iraq, Turkey, even some of our European relationships – it’s difficult to see how we are better off now than we were before she was Secretary of State,” he told The Fiscal Times.
Lazio says, “Hats off to her for her work ethic. But I think what Republicans would like to say is, OK, let’s get down to the issues. What alliances did you form during your tenure? What agreements did you make? How is America safer now than before? Are we better positioned for the future? It’s impossible to know where the country will be economically in November 2016,” he adds, “so we’re only looking at a personality at the moment.”