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Poll has Bush besting Clinton in early 2016 Virginia match-up

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – If the 2016 presidential election were held today, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would lose to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, in Virginia, according to a new poll released Monday by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.

However, the margin of error, at +/- 4.6 percent,  is greater than the two-percent lead Bush, with 48 percent, had over Clinton’s 46 percent. Other Republican contenders lose to her by low single-digits, according to the poll data.

Clinton maintains the advantage over other potential Republican candidates in head-to-head contests, but has lost ground to them since a Wason Center poll in February.

“Battleground Virginia will live up to its name in 2016,” said Tom Kramer, assistant director of the Wason Center. “In the face of a barrage of attacks from her real and potential Republican challengers, Hillary Clinton’s once formidable position has weakened.”

She still far outstrips her potential rivals for the Democrats’ nomination, with the greatest lead being over the sitting Vice President Joe Biden. Among Virginia Democrats and independents who lean toward Democrats, 80 percent prefer Clinton in a hypothetical primary. Next are former Virginia Senator Jim Webb (6 percent) and Vice President Joe Biden (5 percent).

Virginia Republicans’ preference is far from settled, with Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio almost tied among a wide open field. Asked who they would vote for if a primary were held today, Republicans and GOP-leaning independents gave the top spots to Bush (17 percent) and Rubio (16 percent), with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker next at 10 percent.

“The Republican field continues to be very fluid,” said Kramer. “While there are no break-out candidates yet, we do see a sorting taking place, with Bush and Rubio emerging as top-tier candidates, and Christie, Paul, and Walker forming a solid second-tier.

The Wason Center survey was based on interviews with 658 registered voters, conducted April 13-24. The margin of error overall is +/- 4.6%.  The survey results and analysis are attached, here: