Straw Poll: Warren Routs Sanders as Top Choice Among Progressives

COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 22: Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) addresses the crowd at the 2019 South Carolina Democratic Party State Convention on June 22, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina. Democratic presidential hopefuls are converging on South Carolina this weekend for a host of events where the candidates …
Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has routed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and other 2020 competitors to become the top choice of progressives, according to a new poll.

MoveOn.org released a straw poll on Tuesday showing Warren as the top choice of its membership with 38 percent support nationwide.
Warren, who has been surging in recent weeks, was also in first place among members in the early voting states of Iowa (37 percent), New Hampshire (38 percent), Nevada (36percent), and South Carolina (32%). The Massachusetts Democrat also took first place in the delegate-rich Super Tuesday state of California with 38 percent.

Sanders, who won MoveOn’s endorsement in 2016 with more than 78 percent of the vote, trailed Warren for second place with 17 percent. Close behind was former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democrat frontrunner, with 15 percent. The only other candidate to hit double-digits was South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (12 percent.)

Out of the other candidates, only Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) with seven percent ranked above “undecided,” which at two percent received more support than former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA).

The numbers are particularly strong for Warren when taking into account that two percent of those surveyed said they were undecided about their first choice. When the membership was asked to pick their second choice, Warren again led with 25 percent. Between first and second choice picks, Warren received support from 63 percent of MoveOn’s nationwide membership.

“This poll is clearly good news for Sen. Warren, showing that she’s gained substantial support from MoveOn members over the past six months and is also well positioned to continue building support given that she’s also the top second choice candidate of our membership,” Allison Pulliam, the group’s federal endorsement manager, said in a statement announcing the results.

A similar poll conducted by MoveOn in December 2018 found the race was up for grabs. Then O’Rourke led the race at 16 percent with Biden narrowly in second at 15 percent. Sanders followed with 13 percent and Harris at ten percent. Warren was firmly in fifth place with six percent. That poll found that 29 percent of MoveOn’s membership at the time said they were undecided.

Tuesday’s poll indicates that the majority of the undecideds from December have gravitated towards Warren.

The results comes after a slew of recent polls showing Warren’s support among primary voters surging. Last week a poll from Minnesota found that Warren had overtaken Biden for first place in the general election battle ground. Warren has also jumped Sanders for second place behind Biden in a number of states, including NevadaSouth Carolina, and California. Similarly, a national survey by YouGov and an 18-state battleground analysis by CBS News has confirmed the momentum.

Sanders, who relied on groups like MoveOn to power his unsuccessful 2016 presidential bid, appears to be at a disadvantage. For weeks, as Warren’s poll numbers have risen, Sanders has engaged in efforts to energize his supporters and garner attention. Towards that end, he crashed the Walmart shareholders meeting to demand higher wages, compared Democratic Socialism to the New Deal, and used his campaign email list to warn supporters about ICE raids. The attempts, however, have been to no avail.

Sanders was not the only candidate who failed to impress with a natural constituency. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, once a icon of the progressive left, failed to register, with less than 0.1 percent, among MoveOn’s membership.

The poll was conducted online and via email from June 17 through June 21. MoveOn did not provide the total number of individuals surveyed or the poll’s margin of error.

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