The latest on the presidential horse race.

Elizabeth Warren Gains Traction But Hillary Keeps Big Lead

McClatchy/Marist, 12/3-12/5

  • Clinton: 65
  • Biden: 12
  • Warren: 9
  • Cuomo: 3
  • O’Malley: 1

A new poll by McClatchy/Marist has found that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren’s budding presidential campaign has gained some traction over the past month but former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remains the dominant frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

The poll, conducted between December 3 and December 5, sampling 466 registered Democrats, shows that Clinton has maintained her consistent lead into December, earning 65 percent of the vote. Clinton has been polling in the mid-60s since the spring and continues to solidify her place as the odds-on favorite for the nomination.

Vice President Joe Biden finished a distant second with 12 percent of the vote and has consistently been polling at 10-12 percent since the summer. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley finished way back of everyone, failing to earn 5 percent of the vote.

More importantly, Elizabeth Warren’s young presidential campaign is slowly gaining momentum as the freshman senator and former Harvard economist nears double-digits, earning 9 percent of the vote in this latest poll. A Public Policy Polling survey in October showed her at 4 percent and a CNN poll in November had her at 7 percent.

Certainly, 9 percent is hardly an accomplishment when the frontrunner has 65 percent of the vote but the trends clearly show a swell of support for a Clinton alternative that isn’t even “actively” campaigning for president. With more than two years until the first primaries, Warren certainly has plenty of time to close the gap.

Clinton has been the frontrunner before, only to lose the 2008 Democratic nomination to another freshman senator with grassroots support, one Barack Obama. In 2005, Obama was a relative unknown and barely made a dent in the polls as Hillary led John Kerry and John Edwards in the race. By 2006, Obama was still only polling around 12-17 percent. You know how that race ended.

Of course, Clinton was only polling in the mid-30s, not the dominant margin she has now. Still, many Democrats are unhappy with the seeming inevitability of a Hillary Clinton nomination and are looking to alternative candidates like Elizabeth Warren and, to a lesser extent, former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

(Image courtesy of Edward Kimmel)