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Hillary Clinton holds lead in possible 2016 presidential field

Clinton remains strong in the new poll, but there are some danger signs for the Democrat as well.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waits to speak at the World Bank on May 14, 2014 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty)
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waits to speak at the World Bank on May 14, 2014 in Washington, D.C.

Hillary Clinton continues to hold a strong lead among likely 2016 presidential candidates, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, even though Americans would slightly prefer a Republican to be their next president. 

Exactly half of voters said they could see themselves supporting Clinton, while 48% said they could not.

RELATED: What would a Jeb Bush-Hillary Clinton matchup in 2016 look like?

That’s far stronger than any of the leading Republicans eyeing a run. Just 31% of respondents said they could see themselves supporting former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who announced Tuesday that he plans to explore a White House bid, while 57% say they couldn’t see themselves supporting him.

Mitt Romney performs about as well, with 33% saying they see themselves could supporting him and 60% saying they could not. Chris Christie follows, with only 27% saying they see could see themselves supporting him, while 53% said they would not.

But there’s some bad news for Clinton in the survey as well.

Nearly three quarters of respondents – 71% — said the next president should have a different approach than President Barack Obama. And 40% would prefer their next president to be a Republican, while 38% say the same of Democrats. 

Still, Clinton remains incredibly strong in the prospective Democratic primary. More than four out of five Democrats and Democratic leaning independents said they could support Clinton, while only 15% said they could not.

About half of Democrats said envisioned lending support to Vice President Joe Biden as well, but the rest of the potential field remains largely unknown. While Sen. Elizabeth Warren receives warm support among those who know her, a third still didn’t have an opinion of her. About half didn’t know Sen. Bernie Sanders, while more than 60% didn’t have an opinion on former Sen. Jim Webb and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Among Republicans, Romney is in the strongest position, with 63% saying they could see themselves supporting the 2012 nominee, while Bush trails at 55%. He’s followed by Mike Huckabee and Sen. Rand Paul at 47%, Gov. Chris Christie at 40%, Sen. Marco Rubio at 39%, Sen. Ted Cruz at 34%, and Gov. Scott Walker at 29%.

The poll surveyed 1,000 adults with both landlines and cell phones, and had a margin of error of ±3.10%.