Apr 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Poll: Warren tops VP appeal for Dem voters in Michigan and Wisconsin

Adapted from MRG Research, margin of error ±3.5 percentage points; Chart: Axios Visuals

A group commissioned a poll in two Midwestern swing states to test the viability of women of color to be Joe Biden's vice presidential pick and found Stacey Abrams as the top choice for black voters — but Elizabeth Warren as the overall candidate to beat.

Details: Kamala Harris was the only candidate of color to break the top three for overall support, along with Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Warren, in this survey of Michigan and Wisconsin voters conducted for Donors of Color Action and reviewed by Axios.

  • But Warren reflected the most consistent support among white and black voters in both states.

Why it matters: This is one of the only publicly disclosed polls surveying likely voters on specific VP candidates at the same time Biden's campaign is forming a committee to vet women on his shortlist. It offers some early insights into how voters in two battleground states are feeling about the 2020 ticket.

  • Donors of Color Action is part of the Donors of Color Network, a community of high-net-worth donors that launched in March 2019.
  • The group commissioned MRG Research to conduct the study, which was intended to explore the viability of a woman of color as Biden's VP pick with voters in Michigan and Wisconsin.
  • The group asked likely Democratic and independent voters about eight prospective VP picks: Sens. Warren, Harris, Klobuchar, Catherine Cortez Masto and Tammy Duckworth; former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams; Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer; and Florida congresswoman Val Demings.

The big picture: Democrats are focused on the electoral college after losing the 2016 election to Donald Trump, including losses by less than a percentage point each in Michigan and Wisconsin.

  • Conversations about race and gender, and how those factors play into Democrats' ability to beat Trump in November, persisted throughout the 2020 primary — including whether it would take a white man to win over voters in the Midwest.
  • The memo for Donors of Color points out the differences in how black voters view these potential VPs relative to voters overall.
  • "We think it's clear that a ticket that mobilizes and excites the broadest coalition of voters will help Democrats take back the White House," Ashindi Maxton, co-director of Donors of Color Action, told Axios in a statement.

By the numbers: Black voters in Michigan and Wisconsin picked Abrams as their favorite hypothetical running mate for Biden, at 36% and 38%, respectively.

  • While Klobuchar is popular among voters overall in these states, she got just 12% support from black voters in Michigan and 20% from black voters in Wisconsin.
  • Harris underperformed with black voters in Michigan (22%) relative to her overall support in these two states, and she did 10 percentage points better with black voters in Wisconsin.
  • Warren earned the most consistent support among the group, in the low 30s among black voters in both states.
  • Abrams’ performance without being a sitting senator or having just run for president, shows potential to build a broad coalition and turn out voters.

Methodology: MRG Research surveyed registered voters in Michigan and Wisconsin between March 23 - April 5, 2020. Sample sizes: Michigan = 798 (margin of error +/- 3.5 percentage points); Wisconsin = 842 (margin of error +/- 3.4 percentage points).

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