Poll: Democrats prefer Warren when not considering ‘electability’

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) emerges as the preferred candidate of Democratic primary voters when the issue of electability is taken out of the equation, according to a survey released on Wednesday by the Democratic digital firm Avalanche.

The poll asked Democratic voters two separate questions: whom they would vote for if the primary election were held today, and whom they would choose if they had “a magic wand and can make any of the candidates president—they don’t have to beat anyone or win the election.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden took first place in the “horse race” question, with 29 percent saying they would vote for him if the primary were held today. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) took second in that category with 17 percent, while Warren came in third with 16 percent.

{mosads}But when respondents were asked to choose which candidate they preferred to automatically make president, 21 percent pointed to Warren, while 19 percent each tapped Biden and Sanders.

That’s notable because it underscores the gulf between Warren’s perceived electability and her appeal to Democratic voters. It also suggests that, while Biden may be leading the horse race, voters don’t necessarily see him as their president of choice.

At the same time, the poll highlights how Warren will need to convince primary voters that she’s in a position to win not just the Democratic nominating contest, but the 2020 general election against President Trump.

An overwhelming majority of respondents — 97 percent — said beating Trump was “very or extremely important.”

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who has seen his political stock rise in recent months, came in with 13 percent support in the horse race poll and 16 percent in the “magic wand” survey. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) scored 12 percent in both categories.

Part of Warren’s electability challenge may owe to gender, according to the Avalanche survey. Of the voters that chose a male candidate in response to the horse race question and a female candidate in the “magic wand” question, 24 percent cited gender as a quality they would change to make a candidate more likely to be elected.

Even among those who supported female candidates in response to both questions, 19 percent mentioned gender as a primary barrier to electability, the poll found.

Conversely, few respondents pointed to a candidates’ age as an electability concern, a positive sign for candidates like Biden and Sanders, who are 76 and 77, respectively, and who have both faced questions on the campaign trail about their age.

The Avalanche poll surveyed 1,109 likely Democratic voters using Civiqs, an online polling company, from May 31-June 3. It did not report a margin of sampling error. 

Tags 2020 election Bernie Sanders Democratic primary Donald Trump electability Elizabeth Warren Gender Joe Biden Pete Buttigieg poll
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