Pew Research Poll Suggests 25% of Democrats Have Not Chosen a Candidate

The 10 Democratic presidential candidates debating Wednesday night. (Brynn Anderson/AP)
Brynn Anderson/AP

A Pew Research poll released Friday revealed that 25 percent of Democrat voters have not yet decided whom they will back in the Democrat primary.

The American Trends Panel surveyed 4,175 adults – including 1,757 Democrat-leaning registered voters – between July 22 and August 4. It showed Joe Biden (D) leading the pack with 26 percent, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) taking Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) long-held second position place, with 16 percent support to Sanders’ 12. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) – who has been losing momentum in recent weeks – came up one point behind Sanders with 11 percent support.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) came in fifth place with five percent support. The remaining candidates garnered one percent support or less: “The break-off rate among panelists who logged onto the survey and completed at least one item is 1.6%. The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 4,175 respondents is plus or minus 1.9 percentage points”:

Buried in the poll, however, is the fact that a quarter of Democrats failed to express a “first choice” preference for the Democrat primary.

Pew Research found:

However, a quarter of Democrats do not express a preference for the nomination, according to the new survey by Pew Research Center, conducted July 22-Aug. 4 among 4,175 adults, including 1,757 Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters.

The survey finds wide differences among Democratic voters on whether they feel excited by several candidates or just their own top choice. About half of Sanders supporters (51%) say they are only enthusiastic about their first choice for the nomination and 45% of Biden supporters say the same.

By contrast, just 19% of those who support Warren say they are enthusiastic only about only their first choice; 80% say they feel excited about several candidates. Similarly, 78% of Harris supporters say there are several candidates they feel excited about.

Voters were also asked to name the most important qualities in the potential nominee. According to Pew Research, “The most frequent single response to the open-ended question, offered by 21% of Democrats, is that the candidate is able to defeat Donald Trump”:

About a quarter of Democratic voters (28%) mention some aspect of the candidates’ personal characteristics as being most important factors, with 10% saying they should be honest and have good character, and 8% saying they should be competent and intelligent.

About as many Democrats (27%) cite specific policy positions as being most important in their decision to back a particular candidate. Roughly equal shares cite health care (8%) and economic policy (7%), while smaller shares mention immigration (4%) or environmental issues (3%).

Overall, the poll confirms Warren’s continual rise to the top. An Economist/YouGov poll released this week showed the Massachusetts senator in a statistical tie with Biden, with 20 percent to the former vice president’s 21 percent. It also showed a boost in electability, with 57 percent of Democrats saying Warren could “probably” beat President Trump.

The current Real Clear Politics average shows Warren in second place, 13.2 percent behind Biden and 1.3 percent ahead of Sanders.

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