Poll: Democrats view Biden as most electable, while Warren sees gains

Poll: Democrats view Biden as most electable, while Warren sees gains
© Greg Nash

Democrats view former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenUkrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' Warren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll MORE as having the best shot at defeating President TrumpDonald John TrumpAlaska Republican Party cancels 2020 primary Ukrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' MORE, according to a new national survey.

The latest poll from Monmouth University asked Democrats to rank the likelihood of each candidate winning the general election based on a scale of 1 to 10.

Biden topped the field at 7.7, followed by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll The polls are asking the wrong question Sanders unveils plan to eliminate Americans' medical debt MORE (I-Vt.) at 6.5, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll Warren avoids attacks while building momentum Sanders unveils plan to eliminate Americans' medical debt MORE (D-Mass.) at 6.4, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisWarren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll Iowa GOP swipes at 2020 Democrats' meat positions as candidates attend annual Steak Fry Warren avoids attacks while building momentum MORE (D-Calif.) at 6.0 and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegWarren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll The polls are asking the wrong question Booker aide sounds alarm about campaign's funding MORE at 5.6.

Some Democrats are worried that the party risks fumbling away the election if it nominates a candidate who is too far to the left, providing an early opening for Biden to run as a centrist consensus builder, even as he takes fire from progressives for refusing to back liberal policies such as “Medicare for All.”

But the Sanders campaign has increasingly made the electability argument, pointing to polls that show Sanders and Biden routinely posting the largest margins over Trump in head-to-head match-ups in national polls and in key battleground states.

Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir released a memo this week claiming that Sanders had “solidified his standing as the candidate in the strongest position to defeat Donald Trump in the general election.”

“Democratic voters have told us that electability matters in 2020,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “The perception that Biden is the party’s best shot against Trump separates him from the rest of the pack in the minds of his own supporters. Other Democratic voters also tend to see Biden as a highly electable nominee. This could play to his advantage as the field gets winnowed, but only if he can maintain this aura as the primary campaign really gets underway.”

The Sanders campaign has leaned into the electability argument as Warren, a direct competitor for the party’s progressive mantle, has risen in Democratic primary polls.

The Monmouth survey found Biden maintaining a solid lead over the rest of the field, at 32 percent support.

But Warren is by far the biggest gainer in the poll, jumping 5 points since the same poll from last month to 15 percent support and surpassing Sanders, who is down 1 point to 14 percent support.

Twenty-five percent of self-described liberals support Warren, up from 14 percent last month.

Harris has slipped 3 points from 11 percent to 8 percent. Buttigieg is down 1 point to 5 percent support.

The Democratic race will reach its first inflection point next week in Miami for the first primary debate, which will feature 20 contenders spread over two nights.

“Biden maintains his lead but there is plenty percolating in the tier right below him,” said Murray. “Next week will provide the first opportunity for voters to see these candidates side by side.”

The Monmouth University survey of 306 Democrats was conducted between June 12 and June 17 and has a 5.6 percentage point margin of error.