Most Democratic Voters Aren’t Sure Who to Vote For in 2020: Polls

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
July 18, 2019Politics
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Most Democratic Voters Aren’t Sure Who to Vote For in 2020: Polls
Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris at 2020 Democratic Presidential Debate hosted by NBC, on July 1, 2019. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Many Democratic primary voters aren’t sure which presidential candidate to vote for, according to two recent surveys.

Just 12 percent of Democratic voters responding to an NBC/Wall Street Journal survey (pdf) this month said their minds are definitely made up in terms of deciding the candidate they’ll vote for.

The majority of respondents, 51 percent, said they wanted a candidate who comes closest to their own views on issues while 45 percent said they would vote for the candidate they thought had the best chance to beat President Donald Trump.

Respondents said they were following the primary race closely, with 82 percent saying they were following it “very closely” or “somewhat closely.”

Democratic presidential debate
Democratic presidential hopefuls (from L) Bill de Blasio, Tim Ryan, Julian Castro, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O’Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee, and John Delaney participate in the first Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by NBC News on June 26, 2019. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

The survey was of 800 registered voters, including 400 Democratic primary voters, with a margin of error for the latter at 4.9 percent.

The first caucus is slated for Feb. 3, 2020, in Iowa, followed eight days later by one in New Hampshire.

Another survey by the University of New Hampshire and CNN (pdf) found that just 16 percent of probable Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire had definitely decided on which candidate to vote for.

Another 20 percent said they were leaning towards someone while 64 percent said they were still trying to decide.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) had the highest favorability ratings, with Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam former U.S. representative for Pennsylvania Joe Sestak at the bottom of the favorability rankings. Many voters said they didn’t know who the men, and a number of other candidates, were.

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Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) speaks at the Democratic presidential candidates NALEO Candidate Forum in Miami, Florida on June 21, 2019. (Photo by Joe Skipper/Getty Images)

If the Democratic primary for president was held the day they answered, about a quarter of voters said they’d choose former vice president Joe Biden, with Warren and Sanders closely behind at 19 percent each. However, 14 percent of respondents said they would not vote for Biden under any circumstance.

The survey included 386 likely Democratic primary voters with a margin of error of 5 percent.

A number of New Hampshire voters told NBC recently they’re undecided.

“Still shopping,” Peterborough residents Jamie Harrison and Kathy George said before seeing Warren at an event.

Jenn Macdonald said she supported Sanders during the last election but isn’t sure this time.

trump calls antifa evil
President Donald Trump speaks during a Keep America Great rally in Greenville, North Carolina on July 17, 2019. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images)

“I’m really looking at more so what they’re standing for and less about who they are at this point because there are so many out there now that it’s really about who’s going to do the whole big picture for us,” she said.

The choice may come down to who is still in the race, as 71 percent of respondents in a CBS/YouGov poll (pdf) in early battleground states said there were too many choices. Asked whether it was more important to pick a candidate who would convince Trump voters to vote Democrat or motivate Democrats who stayed home in 2016, 67 percent chose the later.

Trump, meanwhile, continues to have strong support within the Republican party, with virtually no challengers for his re-election campaign.

Some 82 percent of Republicans recently polled by The Economist and YouGov (pdf) said that he should run for re-election, with another 8 percent not sure.

Polls have consistently shown support for the president within his party between 80 and 90 percent.

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