For the first time since Quinnipiac University started asking about Democratic Presidential Primary candidates in March, Joe Biden does NOT have the lead. Instead, the poll released this morning shows Elizabeth Warren leading Biden 27 to 25 percent. However, that is well within the margin of error. Bernie Sanders is in third with 16 percent, followed by Pete Buttigieg (boot-a-jedge) at 7 percent, and Kamala Harris at 3 percent. You can read the full summary of the findings below.
FROM QUINNIPIAC UNIVERSITY:Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is essentially tied with former Vice President Joe Biden in today’s Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pea-ack) University national poll. Warren gets 27 percent of the vote while Biden gets 25 percent of Democratic voters and independent voters who lean Democratic. Though well within the margin of error, this is the first time that a candidate other than Biden has had the numerical lead in the primary since Quinnipiac began asking the question in March.
The top two candidates are followed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders with 16 percent, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 7 percent, and California Senator Kamala Harris at 3 percent. While this is Harris’ lowest number yet, support for these candidates as well as the rest of the field has remained relatively stable since the last national poll in August. No other candidate tops 2 percent.
In the August national poll, Biden received 32 percent, Warren had 19 percent, Sanders got 15 percent, Harris had 7 percent, and Buttigieg got 5 percent.
While Warren picks up support across the board, she receives one of her largest gains among white voters with a college degree. These voters were split in August, with 29 percent supporting Biden and 25 percent supporting Warren, and today they support Warren over Biden 37 – 20 percent.
“After trailing Biden by double digits since March in the race for the Democratic nomination, Warren catches Biden,” said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy. “We now have a race with two candidates at the top of the field, and they’re leaving the rest of the pack behind.”
Warren is generating the most excitement among Democratic and Democratic leaning voters, who said 70 – 18 percent that they would be excited if she became the 2020 Democratic nominee. Biden and Sanders would also excite a majority of these voters, who say 56 – 35 percent that they would be excited about Biden and 55 – 38 percent that they would be excited about Sanders.
Half, or 50 percent, of Democratic and Democratic leaning voters want to see the Democratic nominee support policies that would result in major changes but would be more difficult to pass into law, while 42 percent want to see the Democratic nominee support policies that would result in minor changes but would be easier to pass into law. Moreover, 49 percent of these voters think the best way to handle health care is to replace the current private health insurance system with a Medicare for All system, compared to 44 percent who say keeping the current private health insurance system and building on Obamacare is the best way to handle health care. Democratic and Democratic leaning voters also say 55 – 29 percent that they would trust a government health insurance program more than a private health insurance company when it comes to their health care.
“Dig a little deeper, and the reasons behind Warren’s rise become more clear. She generates a lot of excitement as a potential nominee,” adds Malloy. “On top of that, half of Democrats want a presidential candidate that supports big changes – even if it means things are harder along the way.”
Today, Biden’s favorability rating among registered voters is split 45 – 45 percent, and his rating is a favorable 72 – 19 percent among Democratic and Democratic leaning voters. Both of these numbers have gotten worse for the former Vice President since he began his campaign for president. In a December 2018 survey, Biden’s favorability rating was 53 – 33 percent among registered voters and 82 – 8 percent among Democratic and Democratic leaning voters.
Sen. Warren, though less well known than Biden, gets a similar mixed favorability rating among registered voters: 39 percent favorable and 41 percent unfavorable. Among Democratic and Democratic leaning voters, her favorability rating is slightly better than Biden’s at 74 – 10 percent. Her trajectory on these numbers, however, is very different than his – both of her favorability ratings have gotten better since December, when her favorability rating was 30 – 37 percent among registered voters and 56 – 13 percent among Democratic and Democratic leaning voters.
While the top two Democratic contenders have mixed favorability ratings among registered voters, President Trump’s is underwater. His favorability rating is a negative 38 – 55 percent, nearly matching his rating at this point in the 2016 election cycle, which was 36 – 57 percent in a September 2015 Quinnipiac University poll. His opponent at the time, however, had a score that was almost as negative as his; Hillary Clinton’s favorability rating was 41 – 55 in September 2015. If he ends up facing either Biden or Warren in 2020, he will have an opponent that is more well-liked at this stage of the game.
President Trump’s job approval remains in the tight range that it has been in nearly his entire presidency, with 40 percent of registered voters approving of how he’s handling his job, while 55 percent say they disapprove. This disapproval number is close to the percent of voters who say that they will definitely not vote for him in 2020, 54 percent, while 33 percent say that they will definitely vote for him and 10 percent say they will consider it. This 54 percent is the same percentage that did not vote for him in the 2016 election.
While more than half of voters disapprove of his job performance, only 37 percent of voters say that President Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 57 percent say no, he should not be impeached.
Among Republican voters and independent voters who lean Republican, Trump remains very popular. He dominates the Republican primary with 80 percent support, while none of his three opponents get more than 2 percent. Additionally, 67 percent of these voters say that they would be very satisfied with Trump as the Republican nominee for 2020, and 17 percent say they would be somewhat satisfied.
U.S. House Background Check Bill
A huge 83 percent majority of voters support the background check bill that the U.S. House of Representatives passed in February of this year, while 14 percent oppose the bill. Support for the bill includes 71 percent of Republicans, 78 percent of gun households, and 72 percent of gun owners.
From September 19 – 23, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,337 self-identified registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points, including the design effect. The survey includes 561 Democratic voters and independent voters who lean Democratic with a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percentage points, including the design effect, and 568 Republican voters and independent voters who lean Republican with a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percentage points, including the design effect.
The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts gold standard surveys using random digit dialing with live interviewers calling landlines and cell phones. The Quinnipiac University Poll conducts nationwide surveys and polls in more than a dozen states on national and statewide elections, as well as public policy issues.