Voters rate bevy of possible 2016 White House candidates

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From left: Ted Cruz, Wendy Davis, Chris Christie, Hillary Clinton, Ron Paul, Susana Martinez and Rand Paul. (AP)

Sorry, Joe.

Vice President Biden received little love in a Marist poll released Wednesday that pegged Hillary Clinton as the clear favorite among Democrats for the party's next presidential primary. Sixty-three percent of those polled said they'd back Clinton over Biden, who gathered 13 percent, in a 2016 intraparty race.

And when Yahoo News asked voters on Wednesday which candidate they'd support in a primary now, none picked Biden — though not all were thrilled with Clinton.

Among GOP voters who responded to our invite, the field was more mixed, similar to the tight race in the Marist poll, which showed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie leading with 15 percent over Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan (13 percent), Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (12 percent) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (10 percent). Several other notable Republicans netted single-digit percentages.

Below are excerpts from voter perspectives we received.

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Tired of The Machine, curious about Wendy Davis: I am not excited for Hillary Clinton in the way I was excited for her husband, Bill Clinton.

I am not excited for Hillary Clinton in the way I was excited for the current president, Barack Obama.

As a Chicago Democrat, the one thing I am really tired of is The Machine. The Chicago Democratic Machine is legendary. Well, it seems the same sort of nepotism and cronyism that has made Chicago an unworkable, inefficient, nightmarish bureaucracy is also clogging up the federal system.

I would love to see a Washington outsider considered for the role. Someone who is green enough to look at our domestic and foreign policy with fresh eyes, but smart enough to seek support. A Wendy Davis-type candidate who inspires people to stand up against an intrusive government (unlike those who continue to support intrusions and invasion of privacy).

Vickie Mansour-Hasan lives in Chicago.

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Dear Ron Paul, a hands-off president is wanted: Ron Paul, while not perfect, does support small, neutral government. He may not support abortion, but he doesn't want the government prohibiting it or funding it. He may be Christian, but he supports ending marriage licensing by the government altogether, allowing all sexual orientations to marry as they will. He supports canceling out affirmative action and putting all people as equals in the eyes of the law. He supports returning to real, gold currency, auditing the Federal Reserve and eliminating the IRS, so our wages are paid in real money and not taken from us unjustly. He supports ending the costly and ineffective war on drugs and industrializing hemp as a crop. He supports letting the people keep their guns, and their liberty, and I support him for it. Paul is the only candidate who seems to remember what the Constitution is and what it says.

Unwirklich Vin Zant is a mother of three from Sterling, Alaska.

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Country would be better off if Clinton were elected in 2008: I think Clinton could certainly defeat Republican Gov. Chris Christie in a presidential election. Let's face it. He's a likeable guy (just like Bill Clinton was a likeable guy when he ran), but he lacks the strength and international experience that Hillary brings to the table. It's a little difficult for me to take him seriously. Even his bipartisan appearances lately can't touch her. Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, and Jeb Bush don't stand a chance.

I think the biggest obstacle for Hillary to overcome isn't who might be running against her. It's whether America is ready to accept a woman president. Voters did not select her in the 2008 Democratic primary. How much better would 2013 be if Hillary had been elected instead of Obama? Hopefully American voters have learned valuable lesson and will put gender aside in the 2016 race. It's a shame that our nation is so backward when it comes to gender stereotypes.

Ronna Ross Pennington grew up in Arkansas in the 1980s and remembers Clinton's push for teacher testing in the state.

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Ted Cruz will have his moment, then zoom to top: Even as an atheist, I am comfortable with Ted Cruz's faith and his expression of it. He does not rely on it constantly, which tells me he is most likely balanced and might even know quite a bit about the issues at hand. And so far, when he has been put on the spot regarding specific issues, he has done well. So well in fact that I think the Marist poll rating of 7 percent is due more to the fact that most GOP voters do not know who he is.

There are a few names below Cruz in that poll but they do not appear to be people that will be running at all. So that puts Cruz at the bottom of the list. And he has nowhere to go, except up. Chris Christie tops the list. But why? It is because Christie is well-rounded and well-balanced. Christie is also a tough cookie. But those are the same characteristics that helped propel Cruz to fame inside the GOP recently. Given the chance, I believe Cruz could rocket past Christie without much effort. The focus just needs to be on Cruz at the right moment.

Douglas Stewart lives in Bridgeport, Conn.

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Hillary Clinton an experienced diplomat: As John McCain is calling for war in Syria and John Boehner's refrain includes denials of climate change, Democrats and level-headed Republicans alike may find in Hillary Clinton a sensible, experienced diplomat not so different from the distinguished Republican strategist, George Schultz. We need diplomatic guidance through the minefields of potential nuclear proliferation, the challenges of developing new forms of energy, of shifting demographics and climate change, and of the information age itself. As Schultz says, "This is a world awash in change," and we sorely need "the A-team." No one on the current list of Republican hopefuls remotely qualifies on the international stage.

Laurie Jo Miller Farr lives in San Francisco.

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Rand Paul, Susana Martinez deserve perusal: There are many things I do not like about the Republican Party, but I will more than likely vote for one of them in 2016. I do like some of the things RandPaul says about how we need to curtail our involvement in foreign wars, but there are issues around his former adviser that I find troubling.

While she only garnered 1 percent of the poll results, I really like the Republican governor from New Mexico, Susana Martinez. She took a state that had huge unemployment, and a massive deficit, and turned it around so that they state's budget now has a surplus. I like that she is tough on crime, and is pro-education reform. I think she, as the descendant of a Mexican immigrant, has a story that resonates with many who have come to our country to live the proverbial American Dream. Based on her current job performance, she may just be the one person who can revive that dream for the entire country.

Lyn Brooks grew up in a Democrat-dominated family. She lives in Roanoke, Va.

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Clinton aside, continuity needed: Clinton gained a lot of international experience as Secretary of State, albeit with a mixed record in that capacity. She advocated military intervention in Libya, not having learned the lessons of the Middle East. Conversely, she spent an inordinate amount of time on the phone and traveling during her time in office, attempting to enhance U.S. relations with foreign leaders, and introduced some major departmental reforms to the State Department, desiring to make diplomacy the leading tool for U.S. leadership and values in the world. She also introduced an initiative to battle hunger worldwide on a strategic basis as a key part of U.S. foreign policy.

While she was a great team player for President Obama's policies, it is unclear whether she would move some in another direction. However, most Republican candidates would try to junk everything, once more throwing the country into chaos. The same poll stated that Republicans would prefer a Republican nominee who stands on conservative principles. Some continuity is required if we are ever to make progress.

Don Maker is a registered Democrat living near San Francisco.

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Hoping for independent Chris Christie campaign: Republicans have to ask themselves: Do they want ideological purity or to win? An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll reveals that "56 percent of Americans say they think congressional Republicans are too rigid in their dealings with the president."

Chris Christie is destroying his Democratic rival in a blue state in his reelection bid. He's appointed a Muslim judge, and he's supported civil unions, while having bipartisan positions on assault weapons and immigration , which earned the enmity of conservatives like Herman Cain.

But Christie's walked the walk on fiscal conservatism, and he's moved closer to the center than Clinton has, which is why he's my first choice. But I just don't see him winning the GOP nomination. I'm hoping he launches an independent bid for the White House.

John A. Tures is a political science professor from LaGrange, Ga.

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Clinton the only comfortable candidate: Electing Hillary Clinton as president would help ensure that the progress we have made in the areas of health care, civil liberties and environmental protection continues. Women's reproductive rights, sustainability and equal rights for all Americans are issues that are dear to me. Clinton is the only candidate I feel comfortable entrusting those issues to.

I am also pleased — yet not surprised — by the crowded and close Republican race. The Republican Party is its own worst enemy. If they can't pull themselves together and find a moderate candidate they can all throw their support behind, the 2016 White House will remain blue with no contest.

Cherri Megasko is a liberal Democrat from Fort Valley, Va.

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