Which Democrat Should Replace Hillary?

Suppose the unthinkable took place, and Hillary Clinton was forced for health reasons to step down as the Democratic presidential nominee. Who do Democrats think should take her place?

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 48% of Likely Democratic Voters believe Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s primary rival, should be their party’s nominee if health issues forced her out of the race. Twenty-two percent (22%) say Vice President Joe Biden should be the nominee, while only 14% opt for Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, the current Democratic vice presidential candidate. Nine percent (9%) of Democrats think it should be someone else. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Among all likely voters, it’s a closer contest. Thirty-six percent (36%) choose Sanders, 20% Biden and 14% Kaine. But 21% think the Democratic nominee should be someone else.

A plurality (46%) of voters believes the media is giving too much coverage to Clinton’s health issues. Twenty-eight percent (28%) say there’s not enough coverage, while 21% rate the level of coverage as about right.

Not surprisingly, 63% of Democrats think there is too much coverage of Clinton’s health problems, a view shared by only 35% of Republicans and 39% of voters not affiliated with either major political party.

Voters strongly agree that a candidate’s health is an important voting issue, but while most Republicans and unaffiliated voters think the state of Clinton’s health is worth exploring, the majority of Democrats disagree.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on September 14-15, 2016 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Are concerns over Clinton’s health changing the equation? Donald Trump has once again edged ahead of Clinton after trailing her by four points a week ago in Rasmussen Reports’ latest weekly White House Watch survey.

Women (51%) believe more strongly than men (42%) that there has been too much media coverage of Clinton’s health issues. Women are also more conflicted over whom Clinton’s replacement should be.

Voters under 40 are far more enthusiastic about Sanders as Clinton’s replacement than their elders are.

Blacks and other minority voters are stronger supporters of Sanders than whites are.

Democrats aren’t worried about Clinton’s health, but most other voters feel she may not be physically up to the job.

The unexpected success of Sanders in the primaries exposed the growing rift between the Democratic party establishment and the party’s more progressive wing. Forty-seven percent (47%) of Democrats think their party should be more like Clinton, but 39% say it should be more like Sanders.

Even among voters in his own political party, only 26% think Biden would have made the best president if he had run this year.

Following Clinton’s selection of Kaine as her running mate in late July, 30% of Democrats said they are more likely to vote for Clinton with Kaine on the ticket. Just seven percent (7%) said they are less likely to vote for her.

In early August, when new questions about Clinton’s health were being raised, 59% of voters said all major presidential candidates should release at least their most recent medical records to the public. That was up dramatically from 38% in May 2014 when questions about her health were first being raised.

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