Democratic primary voters are hopeful about the 2020 general election—it’s one that most of them believe their party’s nominee will win. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, six in 10 (61%) Democratic voters believe President Donald Trump will lose next November (though one in four disagrees). All Democratic voting groups divide pretty much the same way on this question.
Nearly half the public overall agrees with the Democratic voters. A majority of Republicans expect the President to be re-elected (53%), though nearly four in 10 appear worried (39%). For Democratic voters, especially the party’s liberal majority, defeating Trump is a priority, with 60 percent saying that matters more in a nominee than agreeing with his or her issue positions.
But there aren’t many Democratic candidates that Democratic primary voters see as being able to do that – at least not yet. Majorities of Democratic voters say Senators Bernie Sanders (57%) and Elizabeth Warren (60%) can defeat the President, and two-thirds (65%) believe former Vice President Joe Biden can. Nearly half say the same about California Senator Kamala Harris (46%), but only about a third see South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (35%) and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker (33%) succeeding.
All the other Democratic candidates whose electability was asked in this poll haven’t convinced a plurality of Democratic voters that they can win.
The three Democrats seen as most electable are also the three who are leading the pack. Biden, Sanders and Warren receive favorable ratings from more than seven in 10 Democratic voters (with Warren’s 76 percent favorable to only 12 percent unfavorable among Democratic voters the best rating of the three). She also remains the candidate with the largest share of consideration among Democratic (53 percent name her, with Biden named by 47 percent and Sanders 43 percent.) Harris is being considered by just over a third.
However, Biden retains his lead when it comes to Democratic voters’ current first choice, though Warren is a relatively close second this week. There is still much potential for change. The average Democratic primary voter currently is considering three candidates. A third of them consider even more.
Within the Republican Party, there is both satisfaction with the President (an 87 percent approval rating) and a desire that he be re-elected (83 percent of Republicans say they want him to run again, and the same percentage say would be satisfied if he faced no primary challenge). But currently the Democratic Party has an edge when registered voters look ahead to next November: 48 percent of registered voters say they will vote for the as-yet-unknown Democratic nominee, while 40 percent say they will vote for Trump.
The president is dealing with renewed public concern about the US economy. Last week, for one of the few times in his presidency, more people thought the economy was getting worse than believed it was improving. That is still the case this week. A third of the country say the economy is getting worse, and 29 percent think it is getting better. While the president’s approval rating for handling the economy remains higher than his overall approval rating, it has declined as worry about the direction of the economy has increased. Today, 46 percent approve of Trump’s management of the economy, and 40 percent disapprove.
The president may not be in complete control of what happens next. Just 22 percent in this poll believe that he is setting the agenda for what takes place in Washington.
For Democrats, lobbyists and Senate Republicans combined are seen as more likely that the president to set the Washington DC agenda. Republicans point to House Democrats or the media as often as they do the President.