If there were a perfect presidential candidate for the 2016 election in the U.S., what experience would that person have and what positions would that person take on today's most important issues? CNN and ORC International asked more than 1,000 adults to find out.
Among the findings: Americans want a candidate who is willing to change the Obama administration’s policies, is an experienced politician or executive and shares the same views as the survey respondents on all major issues.
Instead of picking out traits of individual candidates, respondents were asked to look at two statements and choose which one better described their perfect candidate. The statements included whether or not the candidate was economically successful in life, whether or not he or she was politically seasoned and whether or not the candidate was visible as a political leader for many years. After the statements were read to poll-takers, three clear preferences emerged from the responses.
About 59 percent of respondents believe that their ideal candidate should have strong leadership skills and experience at the executive level -- whether in business or government -- rather than be an experienced legislator. The same percentage also prefer a seasoned politician to a newcomer. And 57 percent prefer a candidate who would change policies enacted by the Obama administration.
When viewed in terms of political party, certain disparities emerge in the responses. While 57 percent of all respondents want a candidate who would change the Obama administration’s policies, only 22 percent of Democrats hold that position, versus 59 percent of Independents and 94 percent of Republicans.
CNN and ORC conducted the poll March 13-15. It has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3 percent. Among respondents, 28 percent described themselves as Democrats, 24 percent as Republicans and 48 percent as Independent or members of another party.
The poll is one of many that have emerged in recent months as Republicans and Democrats gear up for the 2016 presidential election. Another poll published by Gallup on Friday found that Hillary Clinton, who is expected to announce her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president next month, had more support among women than men, who were split on their views of the former secretary of state.