A poll out of Texas makes Hillary Clinton look near-unbeatable in a 2016 presidential race. PHOTO: Reuters
I believe Hillary Clinton when she says she doesn't know if she will run for President in 2016, but I also believe that if the latest Public Policy Polling poll is accurate, Hillary Clinton will be our next president. The poll, Clinton polled ahead of Marco Rubio 46-45, Chris Christie 45-43 and Rick Perry 50-42...in Texas.
Now, there are problems with taking any poll more than a year before the election seriously let alone almost four years, and any poll can be an outlier. Everyone knows Hillary Clinton, while not every Texan is acquainted with Marco Rubio, a Senator from Florida, only two years in office, or Chris Christie, the outspoken Governor of New Jersey. Polls are heavily dependent on name recognition: in summer 2011, Donald Trump was polling well among Republicans. Why? Because far more people had an opinion about him than, say Tim Pawlenty or even Mitt Romney.
Still, there are reasons to be alarmed by this poll. First Hillary's own numbers, irrespective of any other candidate, are strong in Texas: Her overall favorables in the state are 50% to 42% unfavorable. Huge. Not only is that a healthy margin for Hillary's favorable side, but that leaves only 8% saying something other than favorable or unfavorable. Much can change in four years, and liking Hillary now is low-stakes--it's easy to like someone when it's years before you have to make any real decisions about them, however these numbers show something that could be extremely troubling for Republicans: Texas is going purple.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz warned of this possibility shortly after the 2012 election: that a growing Latino population would make national elections all but unwinnable for Republicans if they could not improve their standing among Latinos. I didn't believe Texas was in any danger of flipping in 2016 or even 2020, but now I'm not so sure. I doubt any other Democrat would have a real shot at winning Texas in 2016 (San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro would have a shot, but 2016 still feels like a stretch), but just the idea that Republicans would have to worry about Texas ought to frighten them. If these numbers hold three years from now, I doubt Hillary Clinton could resist running, and she could win in a true landslide.