Let the 2016 horse race begin!

Even though the 2012 election has just wrapped up, the pollsters at Public Policy Polling have already starting polling the 2016 presidential race.

Regardless, the poll found two clear frontrunners in the race: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for the Republicans and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democrats.

Twenty-one percent of Republicans in the state favor Christie as the party’s nominee in four years. A cluster of prospective candidates trail Christie but still crack 10 percent: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (14 percent), former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (13 percent), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (11 percent) and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan (10 percent).

Ryan and Rice enjoy the highest name recognition among Republican voters in the state and that helps give them both a favorability rating above 80 percent. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, on the other hand, is viewed favorably by only 48 percent of his fellow Republicans in New Hampshire. Along with Paul, only former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum are viewed unfavorably by more than 20 percent of New Hampshire Republicans.

Democrats, meanwhile, overwhelmingly back a Clinton candidacy, providing further indication that the party’s nomination in 2016 is likely hers if she wants it. The poll shows that 60 percent of New Hampshire Democrats give her nod, creating miles of separation from the other seven candidates included in the survey. After Clinton, only Vice President Joe Biden — who cryptically told reporters on Election Day that he wasn’t voting for himself for the last time — reaches 10 percent.

President Obama’s mandate

Here’s the latest talking point(s) from conservatives:

“NO Obama Does NOT Have a Mandate!”

[…]

“He didn’t run on his record or policies…”

First of all, let’s define what a mandate is. According to Merriam Webster, a mandate can be defined as, “an authorization to act given to a representative.” In choosing to reelect President Barack Obama to a second term in office (by victories in both the popular vote and Electoral College), Americans very clearly gave President Obama an authorization to act on their behalf, as opposed to giving Mitt Romney that authorization. The notion of a government having a legitimate mandate to govern via the fair winning of a democratic election is a central idea of democracy, and while conservatives want to attempt to delegitimize President Obama’s victory on November 6, the fact is the American people have given President Obama a mandate.

Having gotten the whole mandate thing out of the way, let’s move to a discussion about the idea that President Obama didn’t run on his record or policies during the 2012 election. While I understand that’s a popular talking point that was parroted by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan – not to mention their many surrogates – throughout the 2012 election, their having parroted that talking point doesn’t make it true.

To prove my point, here’s some video of President Obama running on his record as he explains during one of the three presidential debates what he’d done during his first term in office to deserve to be reelected.

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In addition to talking about his record of accomplishment during his first term in office or his plans for a second term, President Obama very clearly mentioned many of his accomplishments and policies on his campaign website. For instance, the “Health care” section of President Obama’s reelection site very clearly mentions Obamacare, along with a list outlining how the provisions of Obamacare is benefiting Americans. A quick surf over to the other issues pages on President Obama’s website shows a similar level of detail. There’s mention of the president signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law, passing Wall Street reform, doubling funding for Pell Grants and establishing a college tax credit, and the Race to the Top initiative, just to name a few of President Obama’s accomplishments.

The idea that President Obama didn’t run on his record in the 2012 election and doesn’t have a mandate is absolutely absurd, and anyone who says otherwise is simply trying to find a way to continue to “explain away” and minimize President Obama’s victory over Mitt Romney.