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The last 60 days of 2014 saw a flutter of activity by potential 2016 Presidential candidates who began making their moves in earnest. On the Democratic side, Jim Webb announced an exploratory committee and Hillary Clinton just continued coasting. On the Republican side, Jeb Bush rocked the field with his exploratory announcement and a dozen other GOP hopefuls continued jockeying for support and donors.

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As it stands today, here is the polling average for the Republican nomination courtesy of Real Clear Politics:

17% – Jeb Bush
11.2% – Chris Christie
10% – Paul Ryan
8.6% – Rand Paul
8% – Mike Huckabee (tied 8%)
8% – Ben Carson (tied 8%)
5.5% – Ted Cruz
4.5% – Marco Rubio
4.3% – Rick Perry
2.8% – Bobby Jindal
2.5% – John Kasich

Despite Jeb’s recent polling surge, due to his announcement, the race is still very open. However, there is no doubt that Jeb Bush has consolidated some support simply by coming out and announcing his intention to explore a 2016 run. Christie is still lingering but I suspect Jeb will suck his support out of the room. The biggest challengers to Jeb should be Rand Paul and/or Ted Cruz. However, Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee will hold considerable weight with social conservatives if they choose to launch a campaign. Not mentioned here is Rick Santorum which either means he may come out of nowhere to be a contender or he’s won’t even make it on the radar.

As for the Democratic nomination, here is the latest polling average, also courtesy of Real Clear Politics:

61.7% – Hillary Clinton
12.2% – Elizabeth Warren
9.8% – Joe Biden
3.6% – Bernie Sanders
1.5% – Jim Webb
1.5% – Andrew Cuomo
1% – Martin O’Malley

As you can see, Hillary is currently lonely at the top. Unless one of those candidates, or someone else not yet named, can catch fire and dethrone he candidacy, she will win the nomination. There clearly is a block of Democrats who are not pleased with the prospects of Hillary as their nominee but so far, they’ve been drowned by the “inevitability” factor. A lot of credit is being given to Jim Webb as someone who could topple the Clinton machine but it remains to be seen in the first quarter of 2015 how the field will shake out.

In conclusion, expect to see a tremendous flurry of announcements and activity during the first four months of 2015. I believe Hillary Clinton will announce a campaign no later than February in order to prevent anyone else from stealing the spotlight. I’m also not convinced that Elizabeth Warren will decide to run at all.

See you in 2015! Bring on those debates! Enjoy your New Year’s and be safe. Also leave any predictions in the comments.

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