Poll: 1 in 5 voters prefer Sanders for Biden VP pick

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) tops the list of former Vice President Joe Biden’s potential running mates, according to a Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey released exclusively to The Hill.

The poll shows that 1 in 5 registered voters — 20 percent — prefer Sanders for Biden’s vice presidential slot, the highest support of any would-be running mate presented to respondents in the survey. 

But Sanders is unlikely to be considered, if not entirely ruled out, as Biden’s running mate in the general election. Biden vowed last month to choose a woman as his vice presidential pick and has said he’s considering a list of between six and 10 candidates for the job.

That list remains secret, though there are a handful of potential candidates that have drawn speculation, including Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), both former presidential candidates, as well as Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.). 

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey, however, showed that the top-rated woman for the VP slot is Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), one of Biden’s former rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination. Thirteen percent of registered voters surveyed said that Biden should choose the Massachusetts senator as his running mate.

Warren has expressed at least some interest in the job.

Asked by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow last week what her response would be if Biden were to offer her a spot on the ticket, Warren responded bluntly: “Yes.”

Harris and Klobuchar, meanwhile, both notched 10 percent in the survey, while Whitmer came in with 3 percent. 

Meanwhile, 7 percent of registered voters surveyed said they would prefer former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg; 8 percent preferred former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D); 3 percent preferred billionaire activist Tom Steyer; and 11 percent said they would prefer New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Buttigieg, Bloomberg and Steyer are former 2020 candidates for the Democratic nomination.

Mark Penn, the co-director of the Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll, said that Sanders’s top spot on the list likely owes to his appeal to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. But he said that geographic considerations — Klobuchar’s status as a Midwestern senator, for instance — may be on voters’ minds, as well.

“I think looking at the list, a lot of the party would favor Bernie Sanders, who would energize the left wing of the party,” Penn said. “But I suspect, based on this polling, that Amy Klobuchar is at the top of the list given her Midwestern credentials, though Kamala Harris would also be in the running.”

Biden has signaled that his running mate search is set to begin in earnest in mid-April, telling donors in at a virtual fundraising event that he would soon announce the formation of a committee to vet potential vice presidential candidates.

“It’s kind of presumptuous, but sometime in the middle of the month we’re going to announce a committee that’s going to be overseeing the vice presidential selection process,” he said, according to a press pool report at the time.

Other possible picks that have received speculation include Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Stacey Abrams, the 2018 Democratic nominee for Georgia governor, who has openly expressed interest in the running mate slot.

Biden and his associates have also spoken with former President Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder about the process of selecting a running mate. Holder co-chaired the process for Obama in 2008 along with Caroline Kennedy. 

Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll surveyed 2,394 registered voters from April 14 to 16. The poll is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and The Harris Poll. The Hill will be working with Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll throughout 2020.

Full poll results will be posted online later this week. The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.

Tags 2020 election Amy Klobuchar Andrew Cuomo Barack Obama Bernie Sanders Catherine Cortez Masto Elizabeth Warren Eric Holder Gretchen Whitmer Harvard Harris poll Joe Biden Mark Penn Michael Bloomberg Pete Buttigieg Rachel Maddow running mate Stacey Abrams Tom Steyer Val Demings vice president VP Pick
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