Data Journalist

The way 2020 presidential candidates walk on stage at events can literally set the tone for their candidacy. Aspiring presidents almost always use a walk-up song — a loud, sometimes tongue-in-cheek tune — that reinforces certain messages from their campaign. 

The message is not always subtle: Senator Elizabeth Warren uses Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5,” while Senator Cory Booker plays “Lovely Day, ” by Bill Withers; Senator Bernie Sanders is “singing power to the people” and former Vice President Joe Biden is “knockin' on the door that holds the throne,” a Bruce Springsteen lyric from “We Take Care of Our Own” that was frequently used by former President Barack Obama

President Donald Trump likes to play Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.” He recently used it as he took the stage to announce his 2020 re-election campaign. The song is more-or-less a GOP staple: Greenwood performed the ballad at Trump’s presidential ceremony, as well as the inauguration ceremonies of Republicans George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan.

YouGov compiled a list of 23 walk-up songs 2020 presidential candidates have used (based largely on the available mid-June playlists of candidates), then asked US adults to select up to three walk-up songs that they believed were the best. The song names and artists were kept separate from the candidate using the song to avoid political preferences impacting the results.

Trump’s tune, “God Bless the USA,” took the top overall spot with 28% of the vote among all US adults. The second-most-popular was “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell (18%), which has been used by Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard. That’s followed by “Power to the People” (16%) a John Lennon song used by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Republicans, in particular, are partial to “God Bless the USA” (49%). It’s twice as popular as the song that earned second place, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (18%).

Democrats chose “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (23%) as their top pick, followed by “Power to the People” (21%). In third place among Democrats was “Higher Ground,” (18%), which is used by author Marianne Williamson.

The top five songs from prospective presidential playlists, according to Republicans and Democrats

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Methodology: Total unweighted sample size was 1,237 US adults, which contained 489 Democrats, 327 Republicans, and 289 Independents. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (ages 18+). Interviews were conducted online between June 24 - 25, 2019.

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Image: Getty

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