Poll: More Dems, independents prize electability over ideology

More Democrats and independents in a new survey say they prize a presidential candidate’s ability to defeat President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report DOJ plans to release 'lightly redacted' version of Mueller report Thursday: WaPo Nadler accuses Barr of 'unprecedented steps' to 'spin' Mueller report MORE than whether a candidate aligns with their priorities.

About 48 percent of Democrats and independent voters in a USA Today-Suffolk University poll released Friday said they want to nominate a candidate “who can win, even if different from my priorities.”

That compares to roughly 38 percent of Democrats and independents in the poll who said they want a candidate “in line with my priorities even if it is harder to win.” Another 13 percent said they were undecided.

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The poll comes as the Democratic presidential primary field continues to grow, with some candidates working to shore up support among the party's progressive flank and others pushing to appeal to disaffected and more moderate voters.

The primary race has broadly split into two lanes, with high-profile candidates like Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersOvernight Health Care: DOJ charges doctors over illegal opioid prescriptions | Cummings accuses GOP of obstructing drug pricing probe | Sanders courts Republican voters with 'Medicare for All' | Dems probe funding of anti-abortion group Ex-Obama campaign manager: Sanders can't beat Trump Booker calls for sweeping voting rights reforms MORE (I-Vt.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisEx-Obama campaign manager: Sanders can't beat Trump Pollster says Trump's approval rating in 2020 will be impacted by Dem nominee 20 Dems demand no more money for ICE agents, Trump wall MORE (D-Calif.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOvernight Defense: Reports detail effect of transgender military ban | Watchdog auditing 8 billion submarine program | Warren questions top general on climate change Booker calls for sweeping voting rights reforms Warren praises Ocasio-Cortez in Time 100 MORE (D-Mass.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerHillicon Valley: Washington preps for Mueller report | Barr to hold Thursday presser | Lawmakers dive into AI ethics | FCC chair moves to block China Mobile | Dem bill targets 'digital divide' | Microsoft denies request for facial recognition tech Booker calls for sweeping voting rights reforms 20 Dems demand no more money for ICE agents, Trump wall MORE (D-N.J.) running unapologetically progressive campaigns while other candidates like Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharHillicon Valley: Washington preps for Mueller report | Barr to hold Thursday presser | Lawmakers dive into AI ethics | FCC chair moves to block China Mobile | Dem bill targets 'digital divide' | Microsoft denies request for facial recognition tech Dems introduce bill to tackle 'digital divide' 20 Dems demand no more money for ICE agents, Trump wall MORE (D-Minn.) and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) have expressed skepticism about certain progressive priorities such as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.

“We’d much rather have anybody than Trump,” one survey respondent, Annette Lantos Tillemann-Dick, 66, told USA Today. She added she believes the country needs a leader “who will right the ship, because I think we have been in very choppy, choppy waters with a very bad captain for the last few years now.”

The new poll suggests that voters may have a breaking point for how far left a candidate can go. About 67 percent of all respondents would disapprove of a contender who thinks the U.S. should be more socialist, while only 22 percent would support such a candidate. Another 11 percent are undecided on the matter.

While Trump has historically low approval ratings, the poll found that he would edge out an unnamed Democratic opponent, 39 to 36 percent, with 11 percent opting for a third-party candidate and 14 percent saying they’re undecided.

The USA Today-Suffolk University poll of 1,000 registered voters — including 367 Democrats, 340 Republicans and 233 independents — was conducted March 13-17 and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.