In a poll that came out last week, current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton jumped out to a commanding lead among Floridians queried as their choice for Democratic presidential nominee for 2016.
Garnering a whopping 61 percent of the vote, she easily trounced Vice President Joe Biden, who came in at second place with 14 percent of the vote,, followed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, with 8 percent.
In a poll of their own, Republicans in the same state shared their views on the upcoming 2016 Presidential ticket. Former Governor Jeb Bush leads the pack with 28 percent of supporters, followed closely by Sen. Marco Rubio with 22 percent of the vote. Rounding out the field—in order—are Mike Huckabee (11 percent), Chris Christie (9 percent), Paul Ryan (8 percent), Condoleezza Rice (8 percent), Sarah Palin (5 percent) and Rand Paul (3 percent).
If you’re like me, one thought immediately springs to mind: Holy cow, didn’t we just finish the 2012 elections?!
(Not for nothing, from all the Democrats who swore they’d move to Canada when Bush was elected, followed by all the Republicans who swore they’d do the same when Obama was re-elected, I’m surprised it’s not Canada that doesn’t have to solve immigration reform—of all us Americans!)
We can collectively roll our eyes over the kind of political prognostication found in the polls cited above, but I’ve taken a philosophical approach: Let the fortunetellers tell, but let’s keep them honest. That’s why I thought it would be fun—and insightful—to review the same sort of prediction-making from four years ago. How right were they then?
In a world before Honey Boo-Boo…
Not long after Obama-Biden trounced the McCain-Palin ticket (365 to 173 in the electoral college), speculation began regarding who would square off in the distant future of 2012. Just four months into Obama’s first term, the same polling firm cited above considered the electability of four prominent Republicans: Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and Mitt Romney. Although the President led each of them handily, Huckabee was by far the most popular of the short list. As a historical footnote, Obama led future rival Mitt Romney by 11 points back in early ’09, with 40 percent of Americans viewing the Massachusetts Governor favorably, 35 percent unfavorably, and 24 percent still unsure about the man.
One month later, things hadn’t changed much: “None of the most mentioned potential Republican contenders are finding a lot of momentum. In hypothetical contests Obama leads Mike Huckabee 52-39, Newt Gingrich 53-36, Mitt Romney 53-35, and Sarah Palin 56-37.”