Poll: Women on the rise in Dem 2020 race, Booker still way behind

By Emily Bader
New Jersey | May 23, 2019 at 12:00 pm

In a field of 24 contenders, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker has maintained a low 1% of support among Democratic voters nationwide, compared to former Vice President Joe Biden with 33% support, according to the latest Monmouth University Poll released Thursday.

The poll also found some women candidates, specifically Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, California Sen. Kamala Harris and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, have seen small but evident upticks in their favorability ratings this past month.

Support for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has dropped, the poll found, and there’s been a decline in the net rating for former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke.

Biden’s current support (33%) marks a small increase since he began his campaign to run for president, from 27% in April and 28% in March. The rest of the contenders are tightly grouped below Biden. Sanders has 15% support from Democratic-voters, which has declined from 20% in April and 25% in March. Harris has 11% support, similar to his figures in April (8%) and March (10%). Warren has 10%, compared to 6% in April and 8% in March.

Other candidates getting support in the poll include South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg with 6% support (8% April, 1% March), O’Rourke with 4% (4% April, 6% March) and Klobuchar with 3% (1% April, 3% March). Candidates who’ve received 1% support include Booker, former cabinet secretary Julián Castro, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, entrepreneur Andrew Yang and author Marianne Williamson (this is the first time she’s hit 1% on this poll). The remaining 11 candidates have received less than 1% support or were not selected by any respondents.

“We are still nine months away from the first votes being cast. In past cycles, we used to focus mainly on the insider game of courting big donors at this stage. That ‘invisible primary’ has now morphed into a very visible pre-primary focused on national media attention at the expense of putting down firmer roots in the early voting states,” Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said.

A new finding in this poll is a shift toward voters backing female candidates.

The six women in the field received a combined 27% support from Democratic voters. This is up from 16% support in April and 21% support in March.

“Women are commanding a larger slice of Democratic support than they were a few weeks ago and we are seeing bumps in their individual voter ratings. We can’t parse out the exact reasons from this one poll, but recent efforts by certain states to restrict access to abortion services may be playing a role in the closer look these candidates are getting right now,” said Murray.

The poll was conducted from May 16-20 with 802 adults surveyed. Results are based on 334 registered voters who identified as Democrat or Democratic-leaning, with a margin of error of +/- 5.4 percentage points.

Emily Bader | ebader@roi-nj.com | emilybader