January 23, 2015

What’s in a Name? A Look at 2016’s Legacy Front-Runners

By Andrew Kohut, Founding Director, Pew Research Center

Special to The Washington Post

The 2016 presidential campaign, now in full swing in the media and the political class, starts with a fundamental question: How can American voters, who are so dissatisfied with Washington politics and the state of the nation, name the wife of one former president, and the son and brother of two others as top candidates for the White House?

National dissatisfaction is at a dismal 68 percent, and Americans’ confidence in their government has been in steady decline for years. And yet, voters seem prepared to put two familiar names — Bush and Clinton — back at the helm.

In recent polls, Hillary Clinton led the Democratic field by an average 49.5 percentage points, according to Real Clear Politics. And Jeb Bush led the crowded GOP field by an average 5.8 percentage points, when Mitt Romney is taken out of consideration. (When Romney’s name is included, he becomes the top choice of the Republicans by an average 8.8 percentage points, and Bush slips into second.)

Though neither has officially declared candidacy, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush would share a common challenge on the campaign trail: How will the legacies of their familial predecessors effect their chances of winning the election?

Read more at The Washington Post.