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01 Nov 2016 

Poll: Who would Americans consider voting for in 2016?

By Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Anthony Salvanto, and Fred Backus

The Republicans

As he did last month, Jeb Bush remains the potential candidate with the most support from Republicans, and he is also the best-known of the candidates tested. Former Governor Mike Huckabee shows the second-highest level of consideration, followed by Senators Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. Respondents could say "yes" to as many or as few candidates as they wanted.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz has undergone the biggest change since last month (interviews were being conducted for the poll when he announced his candidacy): 37 percent of Republicans would now consider voting for him, last month only 23 percent said so. Senator Rand Paul has gained 9 points since last month; now, 39 percent would consider voting for him, up from 30 percent in February.


Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker remains less well-known, but almost all Republicans who know him would consider voting for him; just 8 percent say they would not (the smallest percentage of any potential candidate tested in the poll). The difference between the percent that say they would consider him (35 percent) and the percent that would not (8 percent) is largest for Walker.

While the percent of Republicans that would consider voting for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has held steady, Christie also receives the highest percentage - 42 percent - who say they would not consider voting for him. Fewer Republicans now say they would consider voting for neurosurgeon Ben Carson than did so last month.

The deal-breakers: What rules Republican candidates in or out?

The poll tested a number of policy positions in general terms, asking Republicans if they would consider voting for a hypothetical candidate for the party's nomination who holds a different view on an issue than they did.

Among the issues asked about in the poll, the biggest litmus tests for Republicans are candidates' positions on ISIS - which Republicans overwhelmingly see as a major threat to the U.S. - and abortion. Sixty-one percent of Republicans would not consider voting for a candidate who disagrees with them on dealing with ISIS, and half (51 percent) would not vote for someone with a different position on abortion.

On the budget and illegal immigration, Republicans divide: about half are open to backing a candidate who disagrees with them. This may reflect Republicans' views of immigration policy more broadly. Forty-four percent think illegal immigrants in the U.S. should be required to leave, while 50 percent of Republicans think they should be permitted some legal status.

Fifty-six percent are flexible on education policy. Even six in 10 Republicans who oppose Common Core say they would consider supporting a candidate for the nomination who disagrees with them on that issue.

And in terms of governing approach, 77 percent of Republicans say they would be open to a candidate who is willing to compromise with Democrats to pass legislation.

Evangelical Christian Republicans are less willing to overlook differences on abortion than non-evangelicals.

Religion and Politics

Fifty-four percent of Americans say it is not important that a candidate for president in 2016 shares their religious beliefs, while 45 percent say it is. There are stark partisan differences on this question. Nearly two-thirds of Republicans (65 percent) say it is very or somewhat important that a presidential candidate shares their religious beliefs, while a majority of Democrats (64 percent) don't see it as that important.

Looking at religious affiliation, most Protestants think it is important that a 2016 candidate have the same religious beliefs that they do, but it is less important to most Catholics.

However, white evangelicals (regardless of denomination) are especially inclined to say a candidate sharing their religious beliefs is important to them -- 79 percent say it is, including 43 percent who say it is very important.

At this very early stage of the campaign, 50 percent of Republican evangelicals say they would consider supporting Jeb Bush, who converted to Catholicism 20 years ago, for the Republican nomination; 29 percent would not consider backing him.

Still, white evangelicals are open to backing other potential candidates, too. They are also inclined to consider candidates like Huckabee and Cruz for the Republican nomination, in addition to Paul and Rubio. More evangelicals say they would consider Walker for the GOP nomination than not, but six in 10 don't know enough about him to say.


Education policy and Common Core - a new set of teaching standards - have drawn particular attention from the potential candidates recently. While more than half of Americans don't know enough about Common Core to have an opinion, more say it is a bad idea than a good one. This is particularly true among Republicans: 38 percent say Common Core is a bad idea; while just 10 percent think it is good.

Most Americans support legal status for illegal immigrants currently in the U.S., including 56 percent who favor a path to citizenship. Republicans divide: 44 percent think illegal immigrations should be required to leave the U.S., while half favor legal status, including 41 percent who support a path to citizenship.

The Democrats

Revelations about Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state have done little to change her commanding lead as the potential candidate for the Democratic nomination in 2016. 81 percent would consider voting for her - the same percentage as last month.

Vice President Joe Biden follows Clinton as a distant second: 48 percent of Democrats would consider backing him for the Democratic nomination, virtually unchanged from February. But Biden has improved when it comes to the percentage of Democrats who would not consider voting for him: now just 26 percent would not consider voting for Biden, down from 35 percent last month.

Most Democrats still don't have an opinion yet of the remaining potential candidates asked about in the poll. Of this group, Senator Elizabeth Warren continues to have the most support: 31 percent would back Warren, and only 16 percent would not consider her for the party's nomination. Still, Warren remains unfamiliar to 53 percent of Democrats nationwide. Over two-thirds of Democrats still don't know enough about Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley, or Jim Webb, though more would not consider voting for them than would consider it.

would-you-consider-voting-for-each-for-the-democratic-nomination-1.jpgCompetition for Hillary Clinton?

Even though far more Democrats would consider voting for Clinton than any other candidate, most would still like to see a competitive Democratic primary. While more than eight in 10 Democrats want to see Clinton run, 66 percent want to see her run with strong competition from other Democratic candidates. Only 21 percent want to see her run without any real competition. Just one in 10 Democrats don't want her to run at all.

Liberal Democrats (74 percent) are more likely than Democrats overall (66 percent) to want to see Clinton have a competitive race, though just 4 percent of liberal Democrats don't want her to run at all.

More Americans are paying attention to the presidential campaign than they were last month, but fewer are tuning in compared to this point during the 2008 campaign, the last election in which an incumbent was not seeking re-election. Fifty-seven percent of Americans are paying a lot or some attention to the 2016 campaign, down from 72 percent in March 2007. At this point in the 2008 election cycle, a number of White House hopefuls had formally announced their candidacies.

Currently, more Republicans (69 percent) are paying attention to the campaign than either Democrats (55 percent) or independents (53 percent).


This poll was conducted by telephone March 21-24, 2015 among 1,023 adults nationwide. Data collection was conducted on behalf of CBS News by SSRS of Media, PA. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher. The margin of error for the sample of Republicans is 6 points, and the margin of error the sample of Democrats is also 6 points. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

CBS News poll 2016 presidential campaign by CBSNewsPolitics
01 Nov 2016 

Funny Poll Questions and Ideas

Polls, especially funny ones, are a neat and simple way to engage your visitors.

A question and a couple of answers, with the emphasis on humor, can add to the page experience and improve the feel of an article.

I have almost certainly overdone the polls on this page, but it was so easy to do, and so much fun to do it that I couldn't stop myself.

Here is the article...

I have been asked by Hubpages to produce the definitive work on poll usage and the using of them.

When I say "asked" they didn't actually ask me as such. I expect that was an oversight what with it being the weekend and them probably off doing other things.

Consider this a semi official guide in the absence of their official request and join with me in a celebration of the poll capsule and what you can do with it.

What I plan to do and it is more of a vague idea than a plan as such, is to use the Poll capsule to provide various interesting and useful polls throughout this page.

These polls will provide examples of how they can expand on the overall look and feel of a page, as well as allowing you the reader to answer a few questions should you be tempted.

Don't worry too much if you can't be bothered as I will fill them in later using a number of fake IDs.

Two Funny Polls

In order to illustrate how funny polls can be I have put quite a lot on this page. You don't have to answer them all!

I hope they will be fun and give an idea of how an occasional poll can be amusing for a viewer.

One of the elements of polling is not just to find an answer to some daft question. It is to encourage and measure reader interaction.

Were people actually reading a page or skimming it?

Did they feel sufficiently engaged to choose an answer?

On this page I can see where interest begins to tail off. It is towards the bottom where quite frankly most people are beginning to get bored with answering polls. Or maybe they went cross-eyed.

Appropriate Polling

It is no good e voting karvy just putting on polls that have nothing to do with your page. Your reader, who is likely to be of low mental ability, will only be confused by this.

They may be reading a piece on dogs and you have put a poll asking who their favorite president is?

How could anyone cope with that kind of off the wall approach to polling? Remember, we are dealing with people who are barely able to dress themselves or determine what day of the week it is.

Ideally the poll will add to the readers enjoyment and engagement with your page as well as giving you valuable feedback.

Color Poll

This is simple.

There are three colors available for the would be pollster.

White (none basically), grey (for losers), and blue (the choice of experts).

The poll allows you to decide.

Keen eyed readers will note we have now had one of each , so it should be a simple matter to review all three and have some kind of preference.

Twisting Poll Answers

Like all polling, especially the democratic kind, the questions are vital to ensure that you the pollster get the answer you want.

No one wants the public to come up with the wrong answer because you didn't get the question right.

So when you set up your polls either make sure the answers are scrupulously fair (if you are that kind of person) or ensure that they will result in the right answer.

See example of how to create a poll which appears to be reasonable but should result in a landslide result.

Bear in mind there will always be awkward types, who positively delight in giving misleading answers.

Neat Poll Options

The poll capsule allows a wide range of options.

You can have as many answers as you want. I guess. I mean it probably goes up to ten, maybe more.

You can have either a bar chart or a pie displayed once the reader has voted.

That is actually all the options, which is not so many as I thought when I started this section.

It still beats the sheer inanity of a Like button though.

How Many Polls is Enough?

I wondered, while I was writing this to be honest, at what stage the reader gets hacked off with stupid polls.

Maybe one pertinent poll is sufficient?

Or perhaps a number of polls is fun for the reader?

I wonder how I could find out?

Keen eyed readers will notice the addition of a don't know option. This is a handy way to start to muddy the water while appearing to be flexible.

Slanting Polls

If you want to get an answer that suits you, probably political, or maybe religion, then you need to think about your poll options.

It's possible to present a series of choices that split the opposing vote, and firm up on the for vote that is the one you seek.

Take a look at the political poll.

It is an example of the split vote that I might be aiming for, were I anything less than an open honest member of the writing community.

Good job our governments never try to do this.

Is it possible to over use the poll capsule?

I suppose rather than typing this in order to fill up the page a bit I could just load up yet another poll.

But then I have a feeling that the joke, or point if you want to be generous, wore off about three polls ago.

On the other hand, it would be a bit rich to pose a question and not allow you to answer it so the poll is available should you choose to use it.

Incidentally, I realise now that I asked the same question earlier. Apologies for that. A useful lesson though to keep an eye on your poll usage.

Don't overdo it.

When Interest Tails Off...

Around this part of the page interest begins to tail off. People enjoy a bit of poll fun but get bored fairly quickly.

It is a good idea to keep your reader awake with a professional looking advert for some cool looking stuff. That way they will re-engage with your polls or go buy something. Either e voting nsdl way is a win-win.

Of course they may disappear completely.

And Finally

That is more than enough polls from me.

I hope it was just enough and not too much to give you a flavor of polls, polling methods and any other poll related information.

I will conduct an exit poll here and might come back in a while to check my reader feedback.

edit: The word "might" clearly indicates that I won't. I mean, who takes any notice of polls anyway?