5 Mary Fallin
She doesn’t have much national name recognition, but Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma might be the Republican Party’s dream candidate. She has served in Congress and won her gubernatorial seat with a large margin. Moreover, her term as governor is over in 2014, leaving her free to focus on a presidential campaign. Despite being anti-gay marriage and pro-death penalty, Fallin has practiced somewhat centrist politics and initiated or been a proponent of various populist ideas, such as stalking laws, less expensive health care and anti-smoking legislation. She has a high approval rating among Oklahomans.
4 Michele Bachmann
Topping the list of Republican potential women candidates is Michele Bachmann. She has name recognition, and has represented Minnesota in the House since 2007. Moreover, Bachmann attempted a failed bid for the presidency in the 2012 elections. She has the support of the right wing, the Tea Party and the Christian right. Bachmann is making her issue overturning Obamacare—Obama’s controversial health care plan. She appeals to those who see the plan as socialized medicine and is linking her criticism of the plan to the economy’s failure to create enough new jobs. Republicans could well choose a woman candidate to compete with Democrats’ appeal to women.
3 Wendy Davis
Wendy Davis, the Democratic state senator from Texas, has garnered significant name recognition and popularity since her filibuster on the Texas abortion bill in June 2013. The national media has not speculated about Davis as a presidential candidate, instead focusing on a potential gubernatorial bid. However, her new-found stardom, her pugnacious pertinacity and the legions of women honoring her put her on the list of likely female presidential candidates for 2016.
2 Elizabeth Warren
A Democratic senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren is definitely in the top five women most likely to be a presidential candidate. In her first term, she gained significant popularity through her tough stance on banks and banking, which resonated with the populist Occupy movement and those feeling the economic crunch. Warren also made a name for herself by advocating for social security and student debt relief, both popular stances with large constituencies. She is a favorite among progressives, and Cafe Press already has merchandise touting Warren for president in 2016.
1 Hillary Clinton
In any consideration of a woman candidate for U.S. President, Democrat Hillary Clinton has to top the list. She was a viable prospect for the Democratic nomination in 2008, losing to Barack Obama, the first African American president. Prior to her bid for the presidency, Clinton was the senator for New York from 2001 to 2009, and she served as Secretary of State during Obama’s first term, from January 2009 to January 2013. Clinton is arguably the most powerful female politician in the U.S., and a top possibility for a woman presidential candidate in 2016. However, Clinton will be 69 in 2016, and that could change the game.