GOP pollster Patrick Ruffini has a new Democratic primary survey using an online panel matched to voter file data. So of course, take this with a grain of salt. Different from most national polls, this survey looks at the actual past voting behavior of survey participants and see what people who actually vote think.
Here are some of the most important findings:
- Democrats overwhelmingly want a candidate ideologically in line with Barack Obama (59%) rather than one more liberal (17%) or more conservative (12%) — and this is a key dividing line in primary vote choice.
- Biden leads by double digits among the 7 in 10 Democrats who want a candidate in line with Obama or more conservative than him, while Sanders leads by 25 points among those who want someone more liberal.
- Prior to entering the race, Biden led the primary field by 26% over 22% for Sanders. When looking at those who voted in the 2016 or 2018 primaries according to the voter file, Biden’s lead grows to 10 points — 30 to 20%.
- Pete Buttigieg is helped when the universe is limited to verified primary voters (12% among primary voters vs. 3% among non-voters) while Beto O’Rourke is hurt by such a shift (5% among primary voters vs. 13% among non-voters).
- Standout demographics: Midwesterners for Biden, Young voters for Sanders, Men for O’Rourke, Whites with a college degree for Buttigieg, African-Americans for Kamala Harris, Whites with a college degree for Elizabeth Warren.
- Biden support is experience- and character-driven (48% of his supporters volunteer his experience as the reason for their support), while Sanders support is predominantly policy-driven (cited by 33% of supporters). O’Rourke support is a mix of policy & youth, Buttigieg’s predominantly youth followed by intelligence, and Harris’ a mix of policy & experience.
“According to a McClatchy analysis of campaign finance reports, Harris and Buttigieg have done a better job than any other candidate in poaching donors from their opponents in the 2020 primary race.”
“More than 450 former O’Rourke donors have cut checks for Buttigieg, accounting for roughly one out of every 10 dollars Buttigieg raised from those who gave more than $200. Harris won the support of more than 380 former donors to O’Rourke, netting her campaign more than $350,000.”
“All told, more than 1,300 former O’Rourke supporters have so far given to other candidates in a race where a crowded field is fiercely competing for a limited pool of big donors.”
“In the opening days of his 2020 campaign, former Vice President Joe Biden has gone all-in on the general election, positioning himself as the eventual Democratic nominee rather than scrapping with the 19 other wannabes,” Axios reports.
“This isn’t an accident. Biden strategists believe the former V.P. has the luxury of thinking long term rather than scrambling for liberal street credibility.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) “has what appears to be a super PAC, a development sure to stoke speculation that Maryland’s chief executive might challenge President Trump in the Republican Primary in 2020,” the Washington Examiner reports.
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds that 54% of all Democrats said they would be less likely to support a presidential candidate over 70 years old while more than a third said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate younger than 40. About a quarter of all Democrats said a White House candidate’s age did not matter.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) unveiled a plan on Wednesday to give every voter up to $600 in what she calls “Democracy Dollars” that they can donate to federal candidates for office, NBC News reports.
“Under Gillibrand’s plan, every eligible voter could register for vouchers to donate up to $100 in a primary election and $100 in a general election each cycle, either all at once or in $10 increments to one or more candidates over time. Each participant would get a separate $200 pool for House, Senate and presidential contests for a total maximum donation of $600 for those federal offices.”
Matthew Walther: “Attempting to expand a candidate’s electoral map is not a zero-sum game — at least in theory. But what campaign strategy would make it possible for Trump to win over new voters in the Southwest, the Upper Midwest, and the Northeast at the same time all while holding on to Pennsylvania and the Great Lakes? It is easy to imagine the president and his advisers thinking that there are votes to be had in the Southwest by leaning aggressively into his immigration record. Perhaps there are.”
“But this strategy would almost certainly hurt his chances in, say, Minnesota. Using optimistic language about the economy that might appeal to voters in a state like Nevada — or even Colorado — would alienate Midwesterners, toward whom his best pitch in 2020 is to insist that Democrats have prevented him from carrying out his recovery program. Trump can argue that we are still in the middle of ‘American carnage,’ or he can insist that he has already made America great again and deserves to be rewarded for it — not both.”
“Trump’s path to victory was always a narrow one… There is no reason to think that it will be any different four years later — except that this time his opponent might end up being someone like Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden, both of whom would be more appealing to the thousands of voters in a handful of states who made all the difference in 2016.”
Axios: “Next year, the entire under 18 population will be majority non-white… In less than a decade, the population under 30 will be majority non-white.”
“Research on Iowa counties that swung from Obama to Trump indicates that GOP success was driven far more by sexism and racism than by economic anxiety,” the Pacific Standard reports.
From the study: “Economic distress is not a significant factor in explaining the shift in Iowa voters from Democrat to Republican between 2008 and 2016. The election outcomes do not signify [a revolt] among working-class voters left behind by globalization.”
Rather, in 2016, “the nativist narrative about ‘taking back America’ and anti-immigrant sentiment became stronger forces than economic issues.”