The 2016 presidential election is now one year away — and it's already close.
The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows each party with formidable strengths as Democratic and Republican primary voters begin to get serious about selecting their presidential nominees.
In their front-runner Hillary Clinton, Democrats have the strongest political name brand in the contest. The former first lady, senator and secretary of state holds a huge lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the self-described Democratic socialist who is her chief rival. Three months before delegation selection begins in the Iowa caucuses, she draws 62 percent support among Democrats nationally to 31 percent for Sanders and 3 percent for Martin O'Malley, the former governor of Maryland.
The Republican field is far more fluid and unpredictable. It has a new leader, former pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who has now passed real estate magnate Donald Trump. Carson draws 29 percent among Republicans nationally to 23 percent for Trump. The more traditional office-holding candidates lag significantly behind: Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida with 11 percent, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas with 10 percent, former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida with 8 percent.