Iowa polling gives us very early look at possible 2020 Democratic landscape
It may still be 2018, but there’s already polling on how the potential 2020 Democratic field shapes up in Iowa.
The new Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows former Vice President Joe Biden sits in a clear first place with 32 percent support, with Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders in second with 19 percent.
Texas Rep Beto O’Rourke follows in third place with 11 percent support and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren follows with 8 percent.
But with the field still infancy (remember how early 2016 polling didn’t even include Donald Trump, or put Sanders within spitting distance of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton?) one interesting use of these early polls is to gauge voter sentiment about these possible candidates.
Biden has far-and-away the highest favorability rating at 82 percent, and the highest net favorability (his favorability number minus his unfavorable number) at 67 percent.
Sanders, Warren and O’Rourke follow with the three next-highest favorable figures—74 percent, 64 percent and 43 percent respectively. All three have strong net favorability ratings, between O’Rourke’s 42 percent and Sanders’s 52 percent.
California Sen. Kamala Harris and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker both finished with a 49 percent favorable mark and similar, low-double-digit unfavorable ratings.
Former Attorney General Eric Holder, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand are have favorability ratings hovering between 35-42 percent.
But with a 31 percent unfavorable mark, the billionaire Bloomberg is viewed unfavorably by more potential caucus-goers than any other candidate except for Clinton, by a significant margin.
The rest of the candidates suffer from some combination of low name recognition and/or mixed feelings from those who do know who they are.
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Maryland Rep. John Delaney and California Rep. Eric Swalwell all have favorable ratings in the 20s, and relatively low unfavorable ratings considering their relative lack of name identification.
But even while few potential caucus-goers said they were familiar with Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti or Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, those who do know them are virtually split on their view.
Environmentalist and billionaire Tom Steyer, who has spent millions of dollars promoting his push to impeach President Trump, receives mixed marks from possible caucus-goers, with equal 19-percent favorable and unfavorable marks.
Inslee and Bullock have identical, 11 percent, favorability figures, as well as 8 percent unfavorable marks. Garcetti’s favorable rating is 13 percent, but 11 percent of likely caucus-goers view him unfavorably.
The poll also included Andrew Yang, a businessman running an incredibly long-shot bid based in part on a universal basic income. His favorability rating is 7 points underwater.
There are obviously still political eons between now and the Iowa Caucuses, so it would be unwise to put too much stock in any early numbers. But these favorability figures help suggest which candidates need to get out there and start raising their profile among voters, and which candidates have to do more to sway hearts and minds.
The poll surveyed 455 likely Democratic caucus-goers between Dec. 10 and Dec. 13. The poll has a margin of error of 4.6 percent.