Poll: 2020 general election remains wide open

Poll: 2020 general election remains wide open
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Americans are split on how they will vote in the 2020 presidential election, with only slightly more saying they plan to cast their ballots for the eventual Democratic nominee than for President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraud Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primary MORE, according to a new Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey released to The Hill. 

In total, 42 percent of respondents said they will either probably or definitely vote for the Democratic presidential candidate in next year’s general election. Slightly less — 39 percent — said they either probably or definitely plan on voting for Trump.

Eight percent said they are planning to cast their ballots for an independent or third-party candidate next year, while 10 percent said they remain undecided about their vote, the poll found.

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Despite a range of intraparty disputes over policy issues — health care and taxes, for instance — the race for the Democratic presidential nomination has so far centered around a central question: Which candidate is best positioned to defeat Trump in 2020? 

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey shows that former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHarris to host virtual Hollywood campaign event co-chaired by Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling Trump plans to accept Republican nomination from White House lawn US seizes four vessels loaded with Iranian fuel MORE is perceived as the leading candidate on that front. Twenty-six percent of respondents said he has the best chance of winning in a head-to-head match-up against Trump in 2020. 

Only one other Democratic candidate, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersChris Wallace: Trump struggling with attacks on 'shape-shifter' Harris Kamala Harris: The outreach Latinos need Biden and Harris seen as more moderate than Trump and Pence: poll MORE (I-Vt.), registered in double digits — 11 percent — on that same question. The third-place finisher was Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenChris Wallace: Trump struggling with attacks on 'shape-shifter' Harris Markey riffs on JFK quote in new ad touting progressive bona fides Howard Kurtz: Kamala Harris 'getting walk on water coverage' by media after VP pick MORE (D-Mass.): seven percent of respondents said she has the best chance of beating Trump next year.

Another top-tier candidate, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - The choice: Biden-Harris vs. Trump-Pence California Democrats back Yang after he expresses disappointment over initial DNC lineup Obamas, Clintons to headline Biden's nominating convention MORE, fared even worse in perceptions of his ability to beat Trump, with only 3 percent of respondents saying he was best positioned to take on the president in a general election match-up.

“I think there’s no question that on paper at least Biden is likely the strongest challenger and that Trump has an uphill battle to get reelected,” said Mark PennMark PennGOP fears Trump attacks on mail-in vote will sabotage turnout Poll: 70 percent of Americans support voting by mail Biden, under Trump attack, casts himself as firm on China MORE, the co-director of the Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll. “Of course Bush and Obama seemed weak going into reelection campaigns as well and they were able to pull it out, so with a year to go, I’d call it a competitive race.” 

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“A big open issue is will the Democrats nominate a moderate or someone farther to the left,” he added. “That decision will in a close race have a big impact on who wins.” 

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey was conducted online within the U.S. among a representative sample of 1,859 registered voters between Nov. 27-29 by the Harris Poll. 

Results were weighted for age within gender, region, race/ethnicity, marital status, household size, income, employment, education, political party and political ideology where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

The sampling margin of error of the poll is 2 percentage points.