O'Rourke edges out Biden in MoveOn straw poll

Outgoing Rep. Beto O'RourkeRobert (Beto) Francis O'RourkeIdentity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination O'Rourke’s strategy: Show Americans the real Beto Ex-Michelle Obama aide says O'Rourke's road trip is a 'listening tour' in form of a travel blog MORE (D-Texas) narrowly leads former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette Biden2020 Democrats barnstorm the country for MLK weekend BuzzFeed story has more to say about media than the president Kamala Harris picks Baltimore as headquarters for potential 2020 campaign: report MORE as a potential 2020 contender among members of the progressive group MoveOn.org. 

A straw poll released by the group on Tuesday put O'Rourke ahead of Biden by little more than half a percentage point — 15.6 percent to 14.95 percent. Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersIdentity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination 2020 Democrats barnstorm the country for MLK weekend Bill Maher defends Bernie Sanders campaign over sexual harassment allegations MORE (I-Vt.) comes in after that at 13.15 percent.

A plurality of members surveyed — 17.89 percent — said they either didn't know who they would choose in 2020 or that they preferred "someone else," the survey found.

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The straw poll results listed 33 potential Democratic hopefuls, although one of the would-be candidates on the survey, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, has said he will not seek the party's presidential nomination in 2020. 

The results bolster O'Rourke's growing clout in the field of would-be Democratic challengers to President TrumpDonald John TrumpDACA recipient claims Trump is holding ‘immigrant youth hostage’ amid quest for wall Lady Gaga blasts Pence as ‘worst representation of what it means to be Christian’ We have a long history of disrespecting Native Americans and denying their humanity MORE, especially among progressive and liberal voters, who are seen as crucial to winning the party's nomination. 

The soon-to-be-former Texas representative emerged as a sort of rock star in Democratic politics this year as he mounted a high-profile — though ultimately unsuccessful — Senate bid against Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGroup aiming to draft Beto O’Rourke unveils first 2020 video Howard Dean looking for a 'younger, newer' Democratic nominee in 2020 Congress can stop the war on science MORE (R-Texas). 

While he threw cold water on the possibility of a White House run earlier this year, O'Rourke has since opened the door to a bid, saying late last month that he and his wife would not "rule anything out."

While O'Rourke narrowly leads the field of potential Democratic contenders listed in the straw poll, MoveOn's members appear to be splintered in their support.

Only four possible candidates — O'Rourke, Biden, Sanders and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisIdentity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination O'Rourke’s strategy: Show Americans the real Beto 2020 Democrats barnstorm the country for MLK weekend MORE (D-Calif.) — managed to get more than 10 percent support in the survey. Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenIdentity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination O'Rourke’s strategy: Show Americans the real Beto 2020 Democrats barnstorm the country for MLK weekend MORE (D-Mass.), who is already building up her operation for a potential 2020 bid, came in fifth place, after Harris, with 6.42 percent support.

MoveOn endorsed Sanders in 2016 after he garnered the support of 78 percent of voters in the group's straw poll to beat out Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonIdentity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination O'Rourke’s strategy: Show Americans the real Beto Conservatives pound BuzzFeed, media over Cohen report MORE, the eventual Democratic nominee.

But unlike in 2016, the Democratic field is expected to be far more crowded this year, with around three dozen potential candidates rumored to be weighing presidential bids.

MoveOn isn't yet endorsing a potential presidential candidate. That won't come until later, when the group holds a formal vote by its members, the group said in an email. 

MoveOn's latest straw poll offered some clues about what progressive voters may be looking for in their next presidential candidate.

More than 63 percent of respondents said they want candidates "who inspire the public with deep progressive values and will move us toward a more progressive future where everyone can thrive," the group said. 

Another 54 percent said they are looking for candidates "who make the connections between racial, social, and economic injustice and commit to platform positions to see these connections through," according to MoveOn.