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Who's The Candidate Of The Future?

Several candidates are vying for the 2016 nomination, but which of them most represents the future?
Carolyn Kaster
Several candidates are vying for the 2016 nomination, but which of them most represents the future?
Who is the candidate of the future?
Domenico Montanaro/NPR / CNN/ORC poll, May 29-31, 2015
CNN/ORC poll, May 29-31, 2015

If Hillary Clinton wants to be president, Jeb Bush might be the candidate she most wants to run against.

In a CNN poll out Tuesday, Clinton beats Bush in a hypothetical general-election matchup by more than any candidates tested (save Ted Cruz) — 51 to 43 percent. (She beats the rest of the field, too, but by less. She narrowly leads Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, 49 to 46 percent, and is in a statistical dead heat with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, with Clinton holding a statistically insignificant 48 to 47 percent lead.)

What's that all about? As in an NBC/WSJ poll from earlier this year that showed Clinton more represents change than Bush, this CNN poll found Clinton more represents the "future" — and by a wide margin.

Americans said 51 to 45 percent that Clinton represented the future. But just 34 percent said so of Bush, while a whopping 62 percent said he represented the past. That's a 34-point difference.

But there are problems for Clinton in the poll, too. Her favorability numbers are the lowest they've been since 2001. And a significant majority (57 percent) said they don't see her as "honest and trustworthy."

So who does benefit? Rubio, it appears. The Spanish-speaking Florida senator, who just turned 44 on Sunday, leads in the "future" category with 58 percent saying he represents it. He also has climbed to the top of the GOP heap, leading with 14 percent, narrowly ahead of — Bush.

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Domenico Montanaro
Domenico Montanaro is NPR's senior political editor/correspondent. Based in Washington, D.C., his work appears on air and online delivering analysis of the political climate in Washington and campaigns. He also helps edit political coverage.
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