Bush Vs. Clinton Part Two? Maybe.
Another Clinton versus Bush presidential matchup could be in the offing in 2016, and it could be nip-and-tuck in Florida based on a new Quinnipiac poll.
The survey, released Tuesday, has the former Secretary of State versus the former Florida Governor 44 % to 43% in Florida, a crucial swing state. Throw in the margin of error, and it’s a virtual dead heat. But the presidential primaries and caucuses are still a year away and the fields of candidates are loaded with speculation.
Jennifer Emery is a political scientist at the University of West Florida. She says, "It is always going to get earlier and earlier until we reach some point of ridiculousness which we haven't reached yet. The real reason it's so early this time is that Clinton is such a big name in the race, as is Bush, so when we get around to 2020 it might not be as early depending on what names, what political dynasties, are out there."
Clinton scores a 49% to 39% advantage over Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and Clinton also led by double digits in match-ups against New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.
The closeness of the Florida numbers, Emery says, is in part because Bush was a popular, two-term governor.
"Being that it's a usually a very tight race in Florida, as a swing state and with so many electoral votes, it gets attention. But in this particular year, if either Clinton or Bush run, or if they both run, it's just symbolically important because it's in some sense furthering or continuing the dynasty we've had in play for more than two decades."
Along with voters in Florida, Quinnipiac also polled voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania – two other pivotal states in presidential races. Clinton easily topped potential Republican candidates in each of the states, with the exception of Bush in Florida and Ohio Gov. John Kasich in Kasich's home state. Another reason for an already cluttered 2016 race, is that the White House is an open seat.
"Nobody likes to run against an incumbent in the White House because they tend to win. So this is a concept we call in political science, the A Team and the B Team. If you consider yourself an A Team candidate you wait until a seat is completely open, you're not running against an incumbent. What we tend to see is that B Team candidates run against incumbents."
A Bush-Clinton race could also show what Emery believes is part of the downside to competing dynasties – familiarity affecting turnout on Election Day.
"One of the main impacts of having a Clinton-Bush matchup is that we're going to see a lot of people not vote and find a way to depart from politics, either by voting for a third party or brushing it aside entirely because people do get tired of seeing the same old same old in politics. So a familiar name, sometimes, is not welcome."
Hillary Clinton has been following a relatively slower, less aggressive schedule when it comes to ratcheting up her possible campaign for president, compared to potential opponents. Emery says thanks to her name recognition, Clinton could wait longer than the other candidates before making it official.
"If you don't need to start building name recognition it makes sense because when you're on the campaign trail you're open to making all kinds of campaign gaffs."
UWF’s Jennifer Emery contends that, with Clinton delaying her official announcement as long as possible, President Obama can concentrate on his agenda, without the conversation turning to the party’s future.