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Poll: Most Democratic voters value focus on "kitchen-table concerns"

A word cloud i the shape of the United States.
Image via Third Way

In a quarterly poll of 1,200 likely 2020 Democratic primary voters for Third Way, a center-left think tank, David Binder Research found that there it still a significant chunk of undecided voters up for grabs 4 months before the Iowa caucuses.

Why it matters: Voters said they want a candidate who will focus on "kitchen-table concerns" like reducing health care costs and the economy, but a majority of the polled voters said they were willing to put aside policy preferences to beat President Trump.

The top 5 Democratic candidates, according to Third Way's polling:

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden (34%)
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (17%)
  • Sen Bernie Sanders (15%)
  • Sen. Kamala Harris (7%)
  • South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (5%)

The state of pay: 1-in-4 voters said they are undecided or supporting a lower-tier candidate, and half of undecided voters said they won’t decide until the weeks leading up to their state’s contest — meaning the race could shift significantly in February.

  • Though Biden holds a 2-to-1 lead over Warren, his nearest competitor, there are enough voters who are undecided or supporting a lower-tier candidate to give any candidate a chance the nomination.

What voters want: 3-in-4 primary voters said they are motivated by the same priorities that drew them to the polls in 2018, namely health care costs, the economy and beating Trump.

  • A plurality (43%) of primary voters identified reducing the cost of health care as one of their top priorities, while just 16% said replacing the Affordable Care Act with Medicare for All is a top priority.
  • By a 3-to-1 margin, voters said they want a candidate who can mend but not end capitalism.
  • 68% said that they would prefer a Democratic nominee best positioned to beat Trump than a nominee that matches their policy preferences.

Ideologically, the polled voters identified themselves with former President Obama. On an ideological scale from 0 (liberal) to 100 (conservative), the average self-identified score was 46, the same score the voters gave Obama.

  • This data suggests that candidates could be taking a risk by criticizing Obama’s record, which has happened in the early debates.

The poll was conducted from Sept. 19-22 from a representative sample of 1,200 likely 2020 Democratic primary voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.8%

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