Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney may be insisting that he does not want to make another run for the presidency, but Republican voters nationwide want him in the race, a new Quinnipiac University national poll reveals.
"Remember Mitt? Republicans still have Gov. Mitt Romney top of mind and top of the heap in the potential race for the top job," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll.
The results shadow those of a separate Bloomberg Politics/Saint Anselm poll
that showed Romney leading the large potential Republican field of potential White House candidates by a double-digit margin in early-primary state New Hampshire —
snagging the support of 30 percent of voters, a new poll showed Monday.
Quinnipiac's poll of 1,623 registered voters revealed that 19 percent of them gave Romney the top spot out of several other candidates, followed closely by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, with 11 percent.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Dr. Ben Carson came in at 8 percent each, with no other potential Republican candidate breaking the 6 percent mark. Sixteen percent of the voters were undecided in the poll, which carried a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.
But when the pollsters removed Romney from the questions, Bush led by 14 percent, followed by Christie at 11 percent, Carson at 8 percent, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul at 8 percent. Nineteen percent of the voters were undecided.
Meanwhile, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remains a clear front-runner for the Democratic side of the ticket, reports the poll. She netted 57 percent of registered voters who were polled by Quinnipiac compared to Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren with 13 percent of the vote, and Vice President Joe Biden at 9 percent. No other Democratic candidates netted over 4 percent of the polling sample.
Oddly, if Clinton were out of the race, Biden's chances shot past Warren's in the poll, with 34 percent saying they'd pick Biden and 25 percent for Warren.
Romney would fare best over Clinton if they are both nominated for the 2016 presidential race — but not by much. The poll found that 45 percent said they would vote for Romney while 44 percent said they'd vote for Clinton.
The former first lady and secretary of state defeated the other potential candidates in the poll. She came out ahead of Christie 43 percent to 42 percent; ahead of Bush, Paul and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee 46 to 41 percent; Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan 46-42 percent; and Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz 48 to 37 percent.
"But Jeb Bush looms large in second place," Malloy added, and with "Christie also in the mix, it looks like Republican voters are favoring more moderate choices for 2016."
Clinton also got the highest favorability rating in the poll, at 50 percent to 45 percent.
In comparison, Romney's favorability rating was 44-42 percent; Christie at 38-33 percent; Bush, 33-32 percent; Ryan, 36-28 percent; Huckabee, 36-29 percent; and Paul, 35-26 percent. Cruz, with a 21-29 percent rating, was the only candidate marking negative favorability ratings in the poll.
Both political parties, along with the tea party movement, marked negative favorability ratings. The tea party's rating was at 27-45 percent; Democrats, 35-54 percent; and Republicans, 38-49 percent.
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