Democratic primary voters increasingly feel the need to nominate a candidate who can beat President Trump in 2020, and more think Joe Biden can do that than any of the other top Democratic hopefuls. In addition, while most Democratic primary voters are satisfied with their field, more than a quarter wish they had other options, according to a new Fox News Poll.
Biden leads the nomination race with the backing of 31 percent of Democratic primary voters, followed by Elizabeth Warren at 21 percent, Bernie Sanders at 19 percent, and Pete Buttigieg at 7 percent. In early October, Biden was at 32 percent, Warren 22, Sanders 17, and Buttigieg 4.
Kamala Harris and Andrew Yang receive 3 percent apiece, followed by Cory Booker, Tulsi Gabbard, and Amy Klobuchar each at 2 percent, and Tom Steyer at 1 percent.
Compared to March, the first Fox News Poll on the race, Biden’s support is unchanged, while Warren has gained 17 points, Buttigieg is up 6 and Sanders is down 4.
Biden is helped by a large majority of Democratic primary voters (80 percent) saying it is extremely important their nominee can beat Trump -- and more (68 percent) think he can do that than feel that way about Warren (57 percent), Sanders (54 percent), or Buttigieg (30 percent).
Far fewer, 42 percent, feel it is extremely important their candidate shares their views on major issues. However, more Democratic primary voters also say Biden shares their views (72 percent) than say the same of Sanders (68 percent), Warren (62 percent), or Buttigieg (43 percent).
Since May, the number of Democratic primary voters saying it is extremely important their nominee can defeat Trump has gone up 7 points (from 73 to 80 percent), and the portion saying it is extremely important their candidate shares their views has dropped 9 (51 vs 42 percent).
The poll, released Sunday, finds that despite having umpteen candidates to choose from, more than one in four Democratic primary voters wish they had other options (28 percent). That includes 26 percent of Biden supporters and 27 percent of Warren supporters.
Seventy-eight percent of GOP primary voters want to keep Trump as their nominee, while 69 percent of Democratic primary voters are satisfied with their field.
“If Hillary Clinton were to enter the race, she’d likely do so near the top of the pack,” says Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who conducts the Fox News Poll with Republican Daron Shaw. "And Michelle Obama could probably clear the field.”
Twenty-seven percent of Democratic primary voters would definitely vote for Clinton, including one-third of those backing Biden and one-quarter supporting Warren.
The numbers are rosier for former first lady Michelle Obama: 50 percent would definitely vote for her, including nearly 5 in 10 of Biden’s and 4 in 10 of Warren’s supporters.
Few, 6 percent, would definitely back former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Thirty-two percent would never vote for Bloomberg, 30 percent Clinton, and 8 percent Obama.
While health concerns about Sanders aren’t an issue for over half of Democratic primary voters (53 percent), 28 percent say these concerns make them less likely to support the Vermont senator (14 percent more likely). Sanders suffered a heart attack on October 3.
On the other hand, nearly twice as many say they are more likely (21 percent) rather than less likely (11 percent) to back Biden given Trump’s claims about the former vice president and his son’s business dealings in Ukraine and China. About two-thirds say the allegations make no difference (65 percent).
One year out from the 2020 election, Trump ties or trails the Democrat in each of the possible head-to-head matchups tested.
Biden performs best against Trump (51-39 percent). He leads by 12 points, garners over 50 percent and keeps Trump below 40 percent. In early October, Biden led by 10 (50-40 percent).
More Democrats (91 percent) back Biden than Republicans (86 percent) support Trump, and 88 percent of 2016 Trump voters would stick with him, while 91 percent of Clinton voters would support Biden.
Sanders has an 8-point lead (49-41 percent). Warren’s 5-point advantage over the president (46-41 percent) is within the poll’s margin of sampling error, and Buttigieg and Trump tie (41-41 percent). In a 2016 rematch, Clinton has a 2-point edge (43-41 percent).
Between 10-17 percent of voters are undecided or backing third-party candidates.
“Trump’s support in these early ballot tests is consistently around 40 percent,” says Shaw. “He’ll need to shore up his support among a few wavering Republicans and pull some independents and Democrats away from the other side if he’s going to win another term.”
Slim majorities of voters say health care (53 percent) and the economy (52 percent) will be extremely important to their vote for president in November 2020. That’s more than feel that way about guns (44 percent), immigration (43 percent), terrorism (42 percent), taxes (41 percent), abortion (36 percent), foreign policy (36 percent), Supreme Court nominations (36 percent), and climate change (34 percent).
The top issues among Democrats are health care (62 percent extremely important), climate change and guns (both 48 percent), and the economy (46 percent). For Republicans, it’s the economy (60 percent), terrorism (55 percent), and immigration (54 percent).
“Trump’s lowest approval rating is on health care, so Democrats have a big opening there,” says Anderson. “But the size of that opening will depend hugely on the ultimate nominee’s position on Medicare expansion.”
By a 69-21 percent margin, voters favor giving everyone the option to buy into Medicare.
Voters split 47-47 percent over getting rid of private health insurance and moving to a government-run health care system for everyone. Among Democratic primary voters, 80 percent favor allowing everyone to buy into Medicare and 65 percent favor a government-run system.
Even though the general election is 12 months away, interest is already remarkably high with 60 percent extremely interested. That matches the record high from November 2008 and is nearly double the 32 percent who were extremely interested in November 2015, a year before the 2016 presidential election.
Sixty-three percent of Democrats and 61 percent of Republicans are extremely interested.
Conducted October 27-30, 2019 under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company (R), this Fox News Poll includes interviews with 1,040 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide who spoke with live interviewers on both landlines and cellphones. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points for all registered voters and 4.5 points for Democratic primary voters (471).