By:
18-05-2015

Could Michelle Obama Challenge Hillary Clinton?

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As we fast approach the 2016 election for the next president of the USA, a surprise 'challenger' for the Democratic nomination has been revealed. Hillary Clinton has been Barack Obama's Democrat heir apparent for years, leaving competing candidates in her wake by a huge margin. Compared to likely challenger Elizabeth Warren, Clinton would secure 64% of the votes with Warren languishing on 12.5%. Other prospective candidates fare even worse.

Could Michelle Obama Challenge Hillary Clinton? However, a new opinion poll conducted by Rasmussen has maybe set the cat among the pigeons, predicting that if First Lady Michelle Obama threw her hat into the Democrat ring she would best all challengers to Clinton, with 22% of likely Democrat voters saying they would vote for her compared to Clinton's 56%. This might still leave Clinton with a commanding lead, but the apparent popularity of an undeclared candidate with no campaign behind her should give other Democrat runners pause for thought if nothing else.
But would the First Lady stand? The polls look very much against the idea. Only 14% of likely US voters think she should run for the Democratic nomination, with 71% thinking it a bad idea. (Interestingly, among black voters the number of those wanting her to run rises to 40%, and Obama in fact leads Clinton in the approval stakes by 44% to 36% among this section of the electorate. This result however is not reflected in any other demographic that was measured.)
Further, Obama has repeatedly ruled out a future in politics for herself or her daughters – asked by Ellen DeGeneres if she would ever enter politics she replied “No, absolutely not!” - and she is understood to be looking at options for resuming her pre-First Lady career in a non-profit or the private sector.
All in all, it seems that this poll is more in fun than actually trying to provide any real political intelligence, but if it provides some impetus to other Democrat potential candidates then it might spark some debate at least, rather than leaving Clinton with a straight run to inevitable success in the Primaries.
So, it looks almost certain that we'll be deprived of a battle between the current and former First Ladies, with all the possibilities for entertainment that that could have promised for followers of politics. The realistics chances are that it'll be the Clintons rather than the Obamas who will have the chance of establishing a new political dynasty to follow in the footsteps of the Bushes and the Kennedys before them.
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