Washington (CNN) — Hillary Clinton has the early edge in a key battleground state, should she choose to run for president in 2016.
Iowa voters picked her as their choice for commander in chief above top potential Republican contenders including Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, in a new survey released Friday.
The Quinnipiac University poll showed Clinton would defeat Rubio by 11 percentage points, 48% to 37%, if the election were held today and would beat Paul by four percentage points, 46% to 42%. She was helped by her strong support among women.
The speculation over a Clinton presidential run is never ending, helped by her consistently high approval ratings, the perpetual campaign cycle and speculation from political operatives and journalists.
While top Democrats, including her husband former President Bill Clinton and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, have encouraged her to run for president again, Clinton herself has consistently said she’s focused on enjoying her life after years in the public eye and traveling the world.
Vice President Joe Biden has not been as careful and often jokes about another run at the White House.
But Biden did not fare as well in the same poll. He fell behind Rubio by one percentage point, 39% to 40%, and trailed Paul by five percentage points, 39% to 44%, among Hawkeye State voters. He was hurt by his lack of support among independent voters.
President Barack Obama’s win over Clinton and Biden in the 2008 Iowa caucuses helped catapult his White House bid. He went on to win the swing state in the 2008 and 2012 general elections. But Bill Clinton was victorious in the state during both of his presidential elections, in 1992 and 1996.
The poll, conducted between May 15 and May 21, surveyed 1,411 registered voters by telephone and had a sampling error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.