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GSPM Horse Race: Rubio, Clinton Lead the Pack for President in 2016

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On Tuesday, Nov. 13, the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM) released its post-election Horse Race survey which found that 75 percent of respondents were not surprised by the presidential election outcome. Additionally, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were identified as early Republican and Democratic presidential 2016 favorites.

Full survey results for the week ending Nov. 4, are as follows:

Top Republican candidates for president:

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio 30 percent
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie 14 percent
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush 13 percent
Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan 04 percent
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul 04 percent

Top Democratic candidates for president:

Sec. of State Hillary Clinton 47 percent
NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo 10 percent
MD Gov. Martin O'Malley 06 percent
VP Joe Biden 04 percent

Were you surprised by the Presidential election result?

Yes 25 percent
No 75 percent
Don't know/No opinion 00 percent

Who now has the most leverage in the nation's capital on the issue of the so-called "Fiscal Cliff?"

President Barack Obama 59 percent
Speaker of the House John Boehner 30 percent
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid 08 percent
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell 03 percent
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi 00 percent

As you see it, what mistake(s) did the Romney/Ryan campaign make prevented them from winning both the popular vote and the Electoral College (please describe in your own words)?

Select Comments

Democrat Insider: "Romney tacked too far to the right in the primary that he couldn't 'etch-a-sketch' his way back. Furthermore, his 47 percent comment torpedoed his campaign at a critical moment and cemented the view that Romney was an out-of-touch elitist businessman. At the end of the campaign, Romney showed complete desperation running a dishonest ad about the GM bailout and endlessly spinning his dim chances of putting PA into play."

Republican Insider: "The Romney/RNC attack on the Liberty Movement in Tampa. Romney lost four states by a smaller margin than Ron Paul's primary total. He also failed to reach out to Hispanics; if he had the same Hispanic vote as McCain had in 2004, he would be president. Finally, he was weak on the attack. QE-3, U-6 unemployment, and the UN gun treaty should be household ideas."

Democrat Insider: "I think the Romney campaign was constantly floundering. Picking Sen. Rubio could have been a major moment. It would have helped to seal Florida, then could have made states like Virginia, Nevada, Colorado more competitive. Rubio's personal story would have allowed for a superior connection."

Republican Insider: "They allowed the Obama campaign to define Romney for too long unanswered, and they tactically turned out the vote for Obama in key swing states."

What was the one surprise on election night that you did not expect from the results?

Select Comments

Democrat Insider: "I didn't expect Obama to keep Florida that close, much less win it."

Republican Insider: "Romney's complete and total loss was surprising -- it seemed that the race was closer going into the final stretch."

Democrat Insider: "I had my doubts on whether the president would be able to win, but I was absolutely shocked by how readily he defeated Mitt Romney. I did not expect a landslide 332-206 victory."

Republican Insider: "Obama winning and not a single Republican in the Senate winning an 'underdog' campaign."

What is the one big takeaway for the national Republican Party as a result of this election?

Select Comments

Democrat Insider: "No more magical thinking. Tough problems (immigration, health care spending, entitlements, even perhaps climate change) require reasoned solutions, not just bumper sticker slogans."

Republican Insider: "The Republican Party is now in a leadership crisis. We need to choose a new direction. The big takeaway is that Liberty Republicans were very successful on election night while social conservatism was crushed."

Democrat Insider: "Come to the center. The party needs to expand and get anyone they can. It needs an inspirational figure to bring the party together and that can speak to its core values."

Republican Insider: "It's time for us to stop fighting the left's identity politics and start embracing them. We can appeal to groups as well as the Democrats do, we just need to make it a priority."

Independent Insider: "They need new faces and a new message throughout. There's no reason the Senate shouldn't have been a Republican take-over."

What is the one big takeaway for the national Democratic Party as a result of this election?

Select Comments

Democrat Insider: "Do not take the reelection for granted, and as the American public expects, work to develop compromises with the Republicans in Congress and demonstrate clear leadership."

Republican Insider: "The nation is divided, and Obama needs to do what he said he would do in the campaign to work across the aisle. He is not off to a good start in this regard."

Democrat Insider: "Don't get complacent and think there is a mandate -- there isn't."

Republican Insider: "Money doesn't always equal success. Despite being out-raised, the Democrats' ground game pulled out a victory."

Independent Insider: "The Democrats perfected the 2004 Republican playbook by instilling fear regarding social issues and dividing and conquering."

The GSPM Horse Race is an aggregated, weekly measure of the opinions of graduate students, alumni, full-time faculty and adjunct professors at GSPM. The results are not intended to be representative of any larger population. The responses have been weighted to ensure that they are balanced politically, by equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. The comments provided are from survey participants. The survey results are released weekly and are available at gspm.edu.