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Most Democrats want Clinton to run in 2016

More than 8 in 10 Democrats say they want Hillary Rodham Clinton to run for president in 2016, showing a level of interest in her that no other potential candidates — Democrat or Republican — come close to matching among their party’s voters, according to a New York Times/CBS News Poll.

The potential candidates drawing the most interest after Clinton are Vice President Joe Biden, former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. For each of them, about 40 percent of self-identified members of their party said they hoped the person would run.

As for Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey — the man who many had once thought to be an early Republican favorite, but who is struggling with the George Washington Bridge traffic scandal — more in his party say they do not want him to seek the presidency (41 percent) than say they do (31 percent).

While Democrats appear overwhelmingly eager for a Clinton candidacy, the poll suggests that the Republican field, at least at this early stage, is far more muddled, with no potential candidate garnering majority enthusiasm for a presidential run. Thirty-two percent of Republicans say they want Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida to run, although Rubio also seems to have fewer detractors than Bush or Paul (more do not know enough about him to say). On the Democratic side, a majority were unable to offer opinions on some other Democrats seen as potential candidates. When asked about Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, 56 percent of Democrats said they did not know enough about her to say whether they would like her to run, as did 59 percent when asked about Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York.

Democrats were divided over Biden, with 42 percent saying they wanted him to run and 39 percent saying they did not, the poll found. Male and female Democrats expressed similar levels of interest in Clinton. A potential Clinton candidacy also drew the strongest support among self-described independents, with 52 percent saying they hoped she would run.

The nationwide poll is based on telephone interviews conducted Feb. 19–2

—Dalia Sussman, The New York Times

New DNA test better at predicting disorders in babies

A test that analyzes fetal DNA found in a pregnant woman’s blood proved much more accurate in screening for Down syndrome and another chromosomal disorder than the now-standard blood test, a new study has found. The promising results may change how prenatal screening for genetic diseases is done, though the test is costly and generally not yet covered by insurance for women at low risk.

The study, published on Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, found that the fetal DNA test was 10 times better in predicting cases of Down syndrome than the standard blood test and ultrasound screening, and five times better in predicting the other disorder, Trisomy 18. It also greatly reduced the number of false-positive results. It could prevent many women who would otherwise get the standard blood test from needing to confirm positive results with invasive tests like amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling, which can be stressful, much more costly and carry small risks of miscarriage.

“Nine out of 10 women who are currently being referred for further testing would not need invasive tests,” said the lead author of the study, Dr. Diana Bianchi, the executive director of the Mother Infant Research Institute at Tufts Medical Center’s Floating Hospital for Children.

A positive result on the DNA screening would still need to be confirmed with invasive tests. But a negative result would provide confidence that these two major chromosomal disorders are absent.

—Pam Belluck, The New York Times