Poll: Most Democrats prize shared values over electability

Most Democratic voters are willing to back a presidential candidate who shares their same values even if it means they can’t necessarily win the general election, according to a new Hill-HarrisX poll.

The survey released on Friday showed that 64 percent of Democratic voters said they would prefer to back a candidate who closely aligns with them on issues “regardless of whether they can go on to win the general election.”

That’s compared to 28 percent of Democratic respondents who said just the opposite — that they prefer to back a winner in the general election regardless of their stances on issues.

Voters across party lines similarly prized shared values over electability.

Eighty-one percent of Republicans said it is more important to back a candidate that aligns with them on issues, while 72 percent of independents agreed.

This sentiment was also true overall — 72 percent of voters said they preferred a presidential candidate that shares their values.

The survey comes after seven Democratic presidential candidate contenders faced off last week in the final Democratic debate of 2019.

During last Thursday’s debate, the contenders were asked to address a number of issues, including Trump’s recent impeachment by the Democratic-controlled House. 

Both former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sander’s (I-Vt.) were among the first to respond.

Biden described impeachment as a “constitutional necessity,” saying Trump is “dumbing down the presidency beyond what I even thought he would do.”

Sanders accused Trump of “running the most corrupt administration in the modern history of this country.”

The contenders also took some shots at each other.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg went after each other in the first major clash of the night. Their fight over transparency, which had been brewing for several weeks, finally reached a boiling point as the pair tangled at length about the influence of big-money donors.

“We made the decision many years ago that rich people in smoke-filled rooms would not pick the next president of the United States,” Warren said. “Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the president of the United States.”

Buttigieg fired back at Warren by defending his campaign fundraising practices and pointing out that his net worth was the lowest of the seven candidates on stage.

The Hill-HarrisX poll was conducted among 1,000 respondents nationwide with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

—Tess Bonn

Featured clips