Democrats across the country like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and they want and expect her to be their party's 2016 presidential candidate, according to the latest national poll released Wednesday by Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind. Republicans are largely uncertain.

(Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)
(Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)

"Of those Republicans who think they know who their candidate will be, 11 percent says it's likely to be Jeb Bush. Nine percent believe (Mitt) Romney will prevail and coming in third with seven percent is New jersey Gov. Chris Christie," said Krista Jenkins, director of the poll and professor of political science at FDU.

Fifty-four percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the former secretary of state, with 38 percent who have an unfavorable view. The closest Republican potential candidate is former governor of Massachusetts and one time presidential nominee, Mitt Romney. Forty-six percent have a favorable opinion of him, with 38 percent unfavorable.

"Right now if Romney were to run he'd have a favorability rating that eclipses those of his possible opponents by double digits," Jenkins said.

Thirty-four percent feel positively toward former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with 32 percent who say the opposite. Christie comes in with numbers that are virtually identical to those of Bush: 34 percent favorable, 33 percent unfavorable.

When it comes to self-identified Republicans only, Romney is the clear winner, with 73 percent who evaluate him favorably. He's followed by Bush, with 56 percent support. Rand Paul is the only other possible candidate to top 50 percent favorability among the GOP (53 percent). Christie and Texas Gov. Rick Perry do the same among Republicans at 47 percent.

"There was a belief that he (Christie) was going to be the presumptive northeast candidate, but now he's got Romney to contend with," Jenkins noted.

Currently, 54 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of Clinton, with 38 percent who evaluate her unfavorably. She is seen favorably by 81 percent of Democrats.

The survey also asked respondents about President Barack Obama and the political climate in Washington, D.C. Thirty-eight percent approve of the job Obama is doing as president versus 48 percent who disapprove. More than half (56 percent) are concerned about the direction the country is headed, with just 28 percent who say it's headed down the right path.

Americans also crave compromise. By a two-to-one margin, more Americans say Obama should compromise with new Congress whenever possible in order to get things done (59 percent), rather than stick to his guns even though it could mean little gets done (27 percent).

The poll of 1,002 adults was conducted by telephone with both landline and cell phones from Dec. 8 through Dec. 15, 2014 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1percentage points.

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