2016 Election, Donald Trump, Elections, Hillary Clinton, NewsEdge

So is it now Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump?

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GTY_donald_trump_hillary_clinton_sk_150619_16x9_992So the fog of the 2016 presidential campaign clears a bit more. Vice President Joe Biden has announced that he will stay out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“I believe we’re out of time — the time necessary to mount a winning campaign,” Biden said Wednesday from the White House Rose Garden alongside his wife, Jill Biden, and President Barack Obama.

His decision was unsurprising, given what he has been through with the death of his 46-year-old son, Beau, this summer and the difficulty of entering the campaign at this juncture.

Although rumors about a Biden campaign have been circulating for months while poll numbers for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton slipped, Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, has built up an imposing campaign war chest and a head of steam. A Biden candidacy, perhaps with Massachusetts Sen.Elizabeth Warren as a running mate, was intriguing, but it would have been an uphill battle — even amid what appears to be an enthusiasm gap for Clinton.

Just a day earlier, former Sen. Jim Webb ended his bid for the nomination before it had hardly registered with voters.

So, short of a major development concerning her emails while at the State Department or a sudden surge in popularity for progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders, this appears, as from the start, to be Clinton’s race to lose.

So does this mean voters are destined to decide a Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump race a year from now?

We, too, are surprised to find ourselves posing that question. But the resiliency of Trump’s campaign is unquestionable.

An ABC/Washington Post poll found this week that, for the first time, a plurality of likely Republican primary voters believe Trump will be their party’s nominee. According to the poll, 43 percent of registered GOP voters across the nation believe that Trump has the best chance of winning the nomination. And it wasn’t close. In second was neurosurgeon Ben Carson, the choice of 16 percent of likely GOP voters. Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida was the pick of 12 percent. Meanwhile, in polls asking whom likely voters support, Trump is outpacing Carson, his closest competitor, by between three and 10 points.

But Trump has not fared as well in head-to-head polls against a variety of candidates, including Clinton, although the difference between the two is nominal.

With more debates to come and more than three months still to go before the New Hampshire primary, there’s plenty of time for candidates to surge or to falter. It’s anybody’s guess what Trump will do and how his supporters will respond. But for Clinton, her challenge is clear — to unify and invigorate Democratic voters, many of whom were eager to have another option, and now, most likely, won’t be getting one.

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