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 TrumpTrump defends Stephanopolous interview Trump defends Stephanopolous interview Buttigieg on offers of foreign intel: 'Just call the FBI' 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 SandersBernie SandersButtigieg on Biden's Iraq War vote: 'that vote was a mistake' Buttigieg on Biden's Iraq War vote: 'that vote was a mistake' The generational divide of Joe Biden and the Democratic Party MORE (I-Vt.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisThe generational divide of Joe Biden and the Democratic Party 2020 Democrats mark 7th anniversary of DACA 2020 Democrats mark 7th anniversary of DACA MORE (D-Calif.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenJulián Castro defends going on Fox: I'm focused on 'the people out there watching' Julián Castro defends going on Fox: I'm focused on 'the people out there watching' O'Rourke unveils plan to support women, minority-owned businesses MORE (D-Mass.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerThe generational divide of Joe Biden and the Democratic Party Booker, O'Rourke, Buttigieg rally with striking McDonald's workers in South Carolina Booker, O'Rourke, Buttigieg rally with striking McDonald's workers in South Carolina MORE (D-N.J.) running unapologetically progressive campaigns while other candidates like Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw Julián Castro defends going on Fox: I'm focused on 'the people out there watching' 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.