Elizabeth Warren has made inroads among Democrats, especially liberals.
Just about as many Democratic primary voters in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll say they are considering the Massachusetts Senator for the Democratic presidential nomination as are considering Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Warren still lags behind former Vice President Joe Biden by just a few percentage points on this question.
The percentage considering Biden has dropped seven points in the last week, while the changes in other candidates’ percentages are small. Biden remains the clear leader among women and African-Americans, while Warren is considered by more liberals (who are a majority of all Democratic primary voters) than Biden or Sanders.
But the two male frontrunners may have an advantage today because just over a quarter (28%) of voters claim they are only considering one of the current Democrats running, and most of them say that person is either Biden or Sanders. No other candidate is in double digits with this group. Nearly all of those considering the other candidates are thinking about several candidates, not just one.
Warren has several advantages in the presidential contest, too. She has the lowest unfavorable rating among Democrats of any of the leading Democratic contenders. Just 9% in this poll view Warren unfavorably, while 72% have a favorable opinion of her. Democrats’ favorable rating for Biden is one point higher than Warren, but twice as many Democrats view Biden unfavorably compared with Warren.
Warren also doesn’t have the baggage of age, as Sanders and Biden do. It is the most common word used by Democratic primary voters when they are asked to describe each of them. Democratic voters use a variety of words to describe Warren, and nearly all of them are positive.
Most Americans and most of those who identify as Democrats describe Warren as a liberal, a word that comes up frequently in volunteered single word descriptions of her (so do “smart” and “intelligent”). But there is also a downside to being thought of as liberal: more than a third of the overall public finds her “too liberal.” Another third say they can’t answer that question.
A majority of voters considering Warren (56% of them) are also thinking about supporting another leading female candidate, California Senator Kamala Harris. About half are also considering Biden or Sanders or both. 43% are thinking of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, with about a third considering New Jersey Senator Cory Booker or former Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke.
Americans overall have mixed feelings on many questions about Warren, though she fares better than President Donald Trump when it comes to qualities like caring about people, being honest, and having the right temperament for the job. On these questions, national opinion about Warren is divided, while it is clearly negative about the President. Fewer Americans know Warren, but plenty have an opinion about the President.
Many are also unsure whether Warren can win the Democratic nomination and the election. Democrats themselves are somewhat optimistic, although less than half currently think she is likely to win the nomination or win the general election.
In previous Economist/YouGov Polls, Biden was far more likely to be seen as an election winner.
The latest entrant to the Democratic contest is not faring well with Democratic primary voters. Most Democratic have an opinion of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, but it’s nearly as likely to be a poor one as a good one. 6% say they are considering him as a candidate, but 25% of Democratic primary voters admit they would be “disappointed” if he ended up as the nominee. More say that about de Blasio than for any of the other candidates.