Democratic and independent voters don’t want a retread race in 2020. They don’t want to refight the 2016 race wherein Bernie Sanders finally wins. They want someone new. Instead of asking voters who they support, which usually gives those with high name recognition high numbers, a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll tested which candidates now seem intriguing to voters, and who turns them off, in an effort to get clues about the dynamic ahead. Here are the results:
There are three ways to look at the information in that chart. First, let’s look at who leads the EXCITED category.
- 59% percent of Democrats and Independents said they would be “excited” about a new candidate not listed among the choices.
- 53% Joe Biden
- 36% Bernie Sanders
- 30% Beto O’Rourke
- 29% Kamala Harris
- 28% Corey Booker
- 27% Elizabeth Warren
- 20% Michael Bloomberg
- 15% Amy Klobuchar
The second way to look at the numbers is to see who Democratic and Independent voters do not want to run for the Democratic Presidential nomination.
- 41% do not want Sanders to run
- 33% Warren
- 32% Bloomberg
- 24% Biden
- 19% Harris
- 19% Booker
- 13% Beto
- 13% Klobuchar
- 11% percent said they’d prefer that a new face not run.
The third way to look at these numbers is to ask who has room to grow. That is the “never heard of him [or her]” number. The more people who have never heard of you, the higher your excited number could grow once they do hear about you. As you will see, those with high name recognition have the lowest numbers in this category.
- 54% never heard of Amy Klobuchar
- 35% Beto.
- 34% Harris.
- 29% Booker.
In my opinion, the candidates that are in the best position according to this poll are those who are generating excitement in the high twenties or above but also have low “do not run” numbers coupled with high “never heard of them” numbers. That’s O’Rourke, Harris, Booker, and to a lesser extent Klobuchar (she has low excitement numbers, but very high, in fact the highest “never heard of them” numbers).
Biden is in good shape with high excitement numbers (much higher than Bernie’s) but he has no room to grow since everyone knows him. Sanders has a dedicated core of supporter who are very excited for him. But he has no room to grow and he has a very high “do not run” number. If it’s Sanders v. Biden, it’s likely a replay of 2016 with Biden winning. If it is Sanders versus anyone else, the anyone else will win.
Oh, and if Hillary was really considering getting in the race (she’s not), her numbers are devastating. Pollsters should stop asking about her.