There are many things that voters will be considering when picking a presidential candidate in 2016. They will wonder which candidate aligns most closely with their economic priorities, or cares most about the social issue dear and dear to their family’s heart. In Iowa and New Hampshire, voters will examine whether the candidate they are pontificating to has eyes glazed over in boredom. And, for a few voters, the most important thing they’ll need to do before the primaries is do a bit of last name comparison shopping.
According to a new NBC News/WSJ poll released on Monday, 39 percent of voters say they would think much more or somewhat more favorably on a candidate whose last name was not Bush or Clinton, insuring that the next presidential election will debut a new definition for birthers. Fifty-one percent of voters said that it made no difference whether a candidate was related to a previous candidate.
Later on in the poll, the last name litmus test was asked a bit differently. Voters were asked if Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush would represent too much of a return to the past — a majority said yes.
In other words, get excited unknown politicians secretly or not-so-secretly hoping to be president. Voters may not know who you are yet — half of Democratic primary voters didn’t know enough about Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, or Bernie Sanders to say whether they’d vote for them or not, and many Republican primary voters felt the same about parts of their endless presidential field — but they desperately want to.
Meanwhile, the press, always looking ahead, is already beginning to dread the idea of a Chelsea Clinton (who just said she’d think about running for office yesterday) versus George P. Bush race a few decades from now. However, all of the Bushes and Clintons of the world can take comfort in the fact that they weren’t former Representative Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr., who fancied himself the most related to U.S. presidents out of all people in history — 11 in all, not including Jefferson Davis.