Former Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren remain in the top two positions when it comes to how Democratic primary voters judge them: about the same percentage of voters in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll say they considering each of them, with Biden ahead when those voters are asked for their first choice.
Only three candidates, Biden, Warren, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, are in double digits when it comes to Democratic primary voters’ first choice. But Sanders is clearly in third place. While at least half of Democratic voters are considering Warren and Biden, just 41 percent are considering Sanders, and only 14 percent say he is their first choice, nine points fewer than choose Warren, and 13 points fewer than choose Biden.
Half of the candidates who were in the October Democratic primary debate are in single digits when it comes to first choice. Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard and billionaire Tom Steyer, are being considered by fewer than 10 percent of Democratic voters.
Gabbard faces a particular hurdle with Democratic voters. She called 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton the “queen of warmongers” just before last week’s polling began. Her favorable rating dropped among Democratic primary voters both in last week’s poll and this week’s.
Nearly twice as many Democratic primary voters now have a “strongly unfavorable” opinion of Gabbard as did two weeks ago. She receives the highest unfavorable ratings of any Democratic candidate from the party’s voters.
Warren remains the most liked Democratic candidate with Democratic voters. With a 79 percent favorable rating, and just 16 percent unfavorable, Warren does better than both Sanders (73% to 22%) and Biden (72% to 23%). She trails Biden when it comes to first choice in part because of his overwhelming lead among African-American voters on this question.
More than twice as many black Democratic voters are considering Biden as are considering Warren, Sanders or California Senator Kamala Harris. Three times as many are considering Biden as are considering New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, who (along with Harris) is black.
Nearly half of African-American Democratic voters say Biden is their first choice. No other candidate reaches double-digits among black Democratic voters, though Warren, Sanders and Harris come close. Booker is at 5 percent, but he is ahead of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, another candidate having trouble wooing black voters. Buttigieg’s favorable rating is 63 percent among all Democratic voters, but it is only 45 percent among African-American Democratic voters.
Warren leads with white voters, both on the question of being considered and for first choice. There is relatively little difference in the opinions of male and female voters within the two racial groups.
Nearly two in three Democratic voters in this week’s poll would rather have a candidate who can beat Trump than one whose policy positions they agree with. Biden continues to be perceived as most electable. Those who are concerned about electability choose Biden by seven points over Warren, while those more concerned about issue positions are as likely to choose Warren or Sanders as they are to favor Biden.