Under the Dome

Poll: Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney top NC choices for 2016 presidential candidates

In another sign that the 2016 election is right around the corner, pollsters are already asking which candidate North Carolina residents prefer for president.

Polling this race is a bit challenging because there are no official candidates yet. But the Elon University Poll’s results aren’t surprising: 52.8 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of independents said they’d favor former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

On the GOP side, the favorite is less clear. The top pick for Republican voters in North Carolina is former candidate Mitt Romney, who was named in 18.6 percent of responses.

Other potential GOP candidates garnered mentions, but in much lower numbers: neurosurgeon and commentator Ben Carson (5.8 percent), Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (4.5 percent), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (3.1 percent) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (2.7 percent).

Bad news for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio – he got fewer Republican mentions in the poll than Donald Trump, Hank Williams Jr. and Warren Buffett, the latter of whom is a Democrat.

The list of favored candidates among Democrats gets quirky after Clinton. About 0.5 percent of those polled named themselves as an ideal presidential candidate, while others opted for Adam Sandler, Stephen Colbert and Santa Claus.

In the news release announcing the poll results, the Elon University folks were careful not to take the findings too seriously. “Before diving into these numbers, keep in mind that many voters have thought very little about 2016,” the news release said.

“We do not expect 1 percent of North Carolina registered voters to seriously want Adam Sandler as president.”