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Most Expect Trump Will Be Reelected; Sanders Overtakes Biden Among Dem Voters

Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020

Enthusiasm up from 2016, but with a partisan gap

West Long Branch, NJ – As New Hampshire primary voters go to the polls, there already seems to be an impact from the Iowa caucus results on presidential preferences among Democrats nationwide. The latest Monmouth University Poll finds that Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden have swapped positions at the front of the pack, marking the first time Sanders has held the sole lead in national party preferences since Monmouth started polling the Democratic field one year ago. While Democratic challengers battle it out for the chance to take on President Donald Trump, two-thirds of all registered voters think the incumbent is going to be reelected, even though most Americans don’t think he deserves a second term.

Just over 4 in 10 (42%) registered voters feel that Trump should be reelected, while a majority (55%) say it is time to have someone new in the Oval Office. These numbers did not move much as the impeachment hearings and trial played out. Prior results were 41% reelect and 57% someone new in January, 43%-54% in December, and 42%-55% in November. The current results are also similar to late September when news about the president’s Ukraine call broke (39%-57%) and in August when the House impeachment inquiry was just getting started (39%-57%).

About two-thirds of American voters believe that Trump will definitely (27%) or probably (39%) get reelected in November. Just 22% say he will probably lose to the Democrat and only 6% say he will definitely lose to the Democrat. Republicans are brimming with confidence – 59% say reelection is definite and 34% probable – while Democrats are not so certain about their chances – just 11% say their nominee will definitely beat Trump and another 44% say it is probable that Trump will lose. On the other side of the coin, 38% of Democrats actually think it is more likely than not that Trump will win a second term. Just 4% of Republicans think Trump will lose to the Democrat.

“While most voters want to see Trump turned out of office, his steady ratings through the entire impeachment process and memories of how 2016 turned out suggest that few are willing to bet against him. And the Democratic nomination kickoff in Iowa did not exactly inspire confidence in the party’s ability to find someone who can take on the president,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Overall, 65% of voters say they are optimistic about the 2020 presidential election, while 30% are pessimistic. The optimistic group includes 86% of Republicans but just 56% of Democrats and 56% of independents.  Back in August 2016, 55% of voters were optimistic about electing a new president and 39% were pessimistic. In that cycle, Republicans (61%) and Democrats (67%) ran about even in optimism, while independents were less positive (40%).

Currently, 39% of American voters say they feel more enthusiastic than usual about the 2020 election, 21% say they are less enthusiastic, and 40% say they feel about the same level of enthusiasm as they have in past elections. In August 2016, 21% were more enthusiastic, 46% less enthusiastic, and 31% about the same. All partisan groups feel more enthusiastic than they did four years ago, including Republicans (47% more enthusiastic now versus 32% in 2016), Democrats (36% now versus 20% in 2016), and independents (34% now versus 15% in 2016).

“Enthusiasm is up compared to 2016, but optimism has split along party lines. These conflicting findings in public opinion seem to reflect the muddled state of the race on the Democratic side right now,” said Murray.

The Monmouth University Poll finds that Sanders has risen slightly in the unofficial preference contest among Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters nationwide. His current support level of 26% is up slightly from 23% last month. His large lead comes from the post-Iowa effect on the prior frontrunner. Biden has definitely suffered the consequences of his showing in the caucuses, dropping significantly to 16% support from 30% before Iowa. Other contenders include Elizabeth Warren holding steady at 13% (was 14% in January) and Pete Buttigieg with a bounce to 13% (was 6%). National support for other candidates has not changed much since January, including Mike Bloomberg at 11% (was 9%), Amy Klobuchar at 6% (was 5%), Andrew Yang at 4% (was 3%), and four other candidates who earn 1% or less.

“Iowa has had a significant impact on the race, especially for Biden, whose support was always soft and based largely on the perception of electability. Sanders is on the rise, but his gains have come mainly in states that vote after Super Tuesday. There is still time for a number of candidates, including Sanders, to build or lose momentum,” said Murray.

Democratic voters in states that hold nominating contests this month through Super Tuesday spread their support across a number of candidates – 21% Sanders, 16% Warren, 14% Biden, 13% Bloomberg, 11% Buttigieg, 7% Klobuchar, and 6% Yang. In states that vote after Super Tuesday, 30% back Sanders, 18% Biden, 14% Buttigieg, 11% Warren, 9% Bloomberg, 5% Klobuchar, and 3% Yang.

Biden has lost backing in both the early states (down from 27% in January) and post-Super Tuesday states (down from 32%). Current support for Sanders in the early states is similar to last month (20%), but is higher now in the later states (up from 25%). Bloomberg (up from 5%), Buttigieg (up from 4%), and Yang (up from 2%) have seen small gains in their early state support since January, while there has not been a significant change for Warren (19%) and Klobuchar (9%) in the early contests.

Among the six top polling candidates, Biden has seen his net favorability rating drop and Buttigieg has seen a small increase, while the others have not experienced any sizable change among Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters. Biden’s net rating of +38 points (64% favorable and 26% unfavorable) is down from +52 points in January (73%-21%). Sanders now has the field’s highest net rating of +53 points (72%-19%, which is similar to his 72%-24% rating last month). He is followed by Warren at +48 points (67%-19%, similar to 66%-20% in January). Buttigieg clocks in at a +36 rating (55%-19%), which is up from +27 last month (49%-22%). Klobuchar has a +31 net rating (49%-18%, similar to 50%-18% in January) and Bloomberg has a +14 net rating (48%-34%, similar to 48%-31% last month).

2020 CANDIDATE OPINION AMONG DEMOCRATIC VOTERS
Net favorability rating: Feb ’20 Jan ’20 Dec ’19 Nov ’19 Sep ’19 Aug ’19 May ’19 Apr ’19 Mar ’19 Jan ’19
Bernie Sanders +53 +48 +53 +47 +56 +40 +44 +44 +53 +49
Elizabeth Warren +48 +46 +61 +70 +66 +52 +46 +32 +30 +40
Joe Biden +38 +52 +56 +57 +52 +41 +57 +56 +63 +71
Pete Buttigieg +36 +27 +35 +33 +41 +29 +24 +29 n/a +2
Amy Klobuchar +31 +32 n/a n/a n/a +9 +22 +14 +13 +15
Mike Bloomberg +14 +17 +1 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a +1 +10
                     

There has been little change in ratings of the leading Democratic contenders among all American voters (including Republicans and independents). Biden has a rating of 40% favorable and 53% unfavorable among all registered voters (which is down slightly from his 42%-49% rating in January).  Sanders has a rating of 42% favorable and 51% unfavorable (similar to 41%-52% last month) while Warren has a 37% favorable and 49% unfavorable rating (38%-49% in January). Buttigieg gets a nearly even split of 35% favorable and 37% unfavorable (32%-35% in January) as does Klobuchar at 30% favorable and 32% unfavorable (28%-32% in January). Bloomberg has a 32% favorable and 51% unfavorable rating (33%-47% in January).

Trump’s net rating among all voters is similar to many of the leading Democratic candidates at 44% favorable and 53% unfavorable (43%-55% in January), but he attracts a sizably larger number of voters who have a strong opinion on either end of the spectrum. The president’s 47% very unfavorable rating is higher than similar sentiment for any of the Democrats (40% Sanders, 37% Warren, 37% Bloomberg, 36% Biden, 24% Buttigieg, and 16% Klobuchar). Trump’s 35% very favorable rating is also higher than it is for any of his potential challengers (20% Sanders, 16% Warren, 16% Biden, 13% Buttigieg, 10% Bloomberg, and 9% Klobuchar).

“Buttigieg and Klobuchar have the best net ratings of the leading contenders among all voters. That might set up either of them as a formidable challenger for the incumbent, but they are also the least known candidates at this point. That means their ratings are subject to greater volatility once a general election spotlight is turned on them,” said Murray.

Given the glitches in reporting the Iowa caucus results, the Monmouth University Poll asked Democratic voters how they feel about the current nomination calendar. One in four voters (26%) say that having Iowa and New Hampshire go first makes it less likely that the party will nominate the best candidate for president, just 11% say having those two states go first makes it more likely, and 52% say it makes little difference in the end. The results are nearly identical to when Monmouth asked this question last month, before the Iowa caucuses (26% less likely, 12% more likely, and 50% little difference).

A majority of Democrats (56%) continue to prefer switching the process to a single national primary for choosing their nominee, which is nearly identical to January’s poll (58%).  The number who would like to see the states grouped into different primaries has grown (19%, up from 10%). However, there has been a decline in the small number of Democratic voters who want to keep Iowa and New Hampshire first, either on their own (7%, down from 11%) or coupled with some additional states (11%, down from 15%).

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from February 6 to 9, 2020 with 902 adults in the United States. The results in this release are based on 827 registered voters and have a +/- 3.4 percentage point sampling margin of error.  This release also includes results based on 357 voters who identify as Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party which have a margin of error of +/- 5.2 percentage points. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

QUESTIONS AND RESULTS     

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

[Q1-3 previously released.]

4. Looking ahead to the 2020 election for President, do you think that Donald Trump should be reelected, or do you think that it is time to have someone else in office?

TREND: ALL REGISTERED VOTERS Feb.
2020
Jan.
2020
Dec.
2019
Nov.
2019
Sept.
2019
Aug.
2019
June
2019
May
2019
March
2019
Jan.
2019
Nov.
2018
Should be reelected 42% 41% 43% 42% 39% 39% 37% 37% 38% 38% 37%
Someone else in office 55% 57% 54% 55% 57% 57% 59% 60% 57% 57% 58%
(VOL) Don’t know 3% 2% 3% 3% 4% 4% 4% 4% 5% 5% 4%
(n) (827) (847) (838) (835) (1,017) (689) (660) (719) (746) (735) (716)

4A. As of right now, what do you think the chances are that Donald Trump gets reelected in November – do you think he will definitely get reelected, probably get reelected, probably lose to the Democrat, or definitely lose to the Democrat?

ALL REGISTERED VOTERSFeb.
2020
Definitely get reelected 27%
Probably get reelected 39%
Probably lose to the Democrat 22%
Definitely lose to the Democrat 6%
(VOL) Depends on the Democrat 1%
(VOL) Don’t know 4%
(n) (827)

[Q5-7 previously released.]

[Q8 WAS ASKED OF DEMOCRATS/LEANING DEMOCRATIC VOTERS.]

8. Who would you support for the Democratic nomination for president if the candidates were the following? [INCLUDES LEANERS] [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

TREND:
(with leaners)
Feb.
2020
Jan.
2020
Dec.
2019
Nov.
2019
Sept.
2019
Aug
2019
June
2019
May
2019
April
2019
March
2019
Jan.
2019
Bernie Sanders 26% 23% 21% 20% 15% 20% 14% 15% 20% 25% 16%
Joe Biden 16% 30% 26% 23% 25% 19% 32% 33% 27% 28% 29%
Pete Buttigieg 13% 6% 8% 9% 5% 4% 5% 6% 8% <1% 0%
Elizabeth Warren 13% 14% 17% 23% 28% 20% 15% 10% 6% 8% 8%
Mike Bloomberg 11% 9% 5% n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 2% 4%
Amy Klobuchar 6% 5% 4% 2% 1% 1% 1% 3% 1% 3% 2%
Andrew Yang 4% 3% 3% 3% 2% 3% 2% 1% <1% 1% 1%
Tulsi Gabbard 1% 1% <1% <1% <1% 1% 1% 1% 0% <1% 1%
Tom Steyer 1% 1% 1% 1% 1% <1% n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Michael Bennet <1% 1% 0% <1% 0% <1% 0% <1% 0% <1% n/a
Deval Patrick 0% 0% 1% n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
(VOL) Other 0% 1% <1% 1% 1% 3% 3% 2% 5% 4% 5%
(VOL) No one 2% 1% 3% 1% 2% <1% 1% 2% 3% <1% 3%
(VOL) Undecided 5% 6% 11% 7% 10% 10% 11% 9% 14% 8% 9%
Cory Booker n/a n/a 2% 3% 1% 4% 2% 1% 2% 5% 4%
Julián Castro n/a n/a 1% 0% 1% 2% <1% 1% <1% 1% 1%
John Delaney n/a <1% 0% 0% <1% 0% 0% <1% 0% 0% <1%
Kamala Harris n/a n/a n/a 5% 5% 8% 8% 11% 8% 10% 11%
Beto O’Rourke n/a n/a n/a n/a 1% 2% 3% 4% 4% 6% 7%
Marianne Williamson n/a n/a <1% <1% 2% 2% 1% 1% <1% <1% n/a
  (n) (357) (372) (384) (345) (434) (298) (306) (334) (330) (310) (313)

[Q9 WAS ASKED OF DEMOCRATS/LEANING DEMOCRATIC VOTERS.]

9. Do you think having Iowa and New Hampshire go first in the nominating process makes it more likely or less likely that the Democratic Party will nominate the best candidate for president, or do you think having those states go first makes little difference in the likelihood that Democrats will nominate the best candidate?

TREND: Feb.
2020
Jan.
2020
More likely 11% 12%
Less likely 26% 26%
Little difference 52% 50%
(VOL) Don’t know 11% 12%
(n) (357) (372)

[Q10 WAS ASKED OF DEMOCRATS/LEANING DEMOCRATIC VOTERS.]

10. Which of the following options would you prefer for the presidential nominating process: A. keep the current system with Iowa and New Hampshire going first, followed by Nevada and South Carolina and then a bunch of states on Super Tuesday; B. have a few other states hold their contests on the same days as Iowa and New Hampshire before moving to other states; C. create grouped primaries where many states would hold their contests on the same day, with each group going on a different week; or D. create a national primary where every state would hold its nominating contest on the same day?

TREND: Feb.
2020
Jan.
2020
A. Keep the current system 7% 11%
B. Have a few other states on same days as IA/NH 11% 15%
C. Create grouped primaries 19% 10%
D. Create a national primary 56% 58%
(VOL) None of these 2% 1%
(VOL) Don’t know 5% 4%
(n) (357) (372)

[ASKED OF EVERYONE.]

11. I’m going to read you the names of some people who are running for president in 2020.  Please tell me if your general impression of each is very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable, or if you don’t really have an opinion. If you have not heard of the person, just let me know. [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

TREND: ALL REGISTERED VOTERS
Very favorable

Somewhat favorable

Somewhat unfavorable

Very unfavorable

No
opinion
Not heard of

(n)
Former Vice President
Joe Biden
16% 24% 17% 36% 6% 2% (827)
   — January 2020 19% 23% 16% 33% 6% 2% (847)
   — December 2019 18% 25% 16% 34% 6% 1% (838)
   — November 2019 18% 25% 17% 33% 7% 0% (835)
   — September 2019 20% 26% 18% 27% 8% 1% (1,017)
               
Vermont Senator
Bernie Sanders
20% 22% 11% 40% 6% 1% (827)
   — January 2020 20% 21% 14% 38% 6% 1% (847)
   — December 2019 20% 21% 15% 39% 4% 1% (838)
   — November 2019 20% 21% 14% 40% 4% 1% (835)
   — September 2019 18% 24% 12% 37% 7% 1% (1,017)
               
Massachusetts Senator
Elizabeth Warren
16% 21% 12% 37% 7% 6% (827)
   — January 2020 17% 21% 12% 37% 8% 5% (847)
   — December 2019 18% 22% 11% 39% 6% 4% (838)
   — November 2019 20% 22% 9% 35% 9% 5% (835)
   — September 2019 22% 20% 9% 31% 11% 8% (1,017)
               
Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor
Pete Buttigieg
13% 22% 13% 24% 14% 13% (827)
   — January 2020 11% 21% 15% 20% 18% 14% (847)
   — December 2019 13% 21% 13% 22% 16% 16% (838)
   — November 2019 9% 18% 13% 21% 20% 18% (835)
   — September 2019 13% 17% 11% 20% 18% 21% (1,017)
               
Minnesota Senator
Amy Klobuchar
9% 21% 16% 16% 20% 18% (827)
   — January 2020 10% 18% 17% 15% 22% 19% (847)
   — December 2019
   — November 2019
   — September 2019
               
Former New York Mayor
Mike Bloomberg
10% 22% 14% 37% 13% 4% (827)
   — January 2020 10% 23% 15% 32% 15% 5% (847)
   — December 2019 7% 19% 21% 33% 14% 6% (838)
   — November 2019
   — September 2019
               
President Donald Trump 35% 9% 6% 47% 3% 0% (827)
   — January 2020 35% 8% 4% 51% 2% 0% (847)
   — December 2019 33% 13% 5% 47% 2% 0% (838)
   — November 2019 34% 10% 4% 50% 2% 0% (835)
   — September 2019 30% 13% 6% 50% 3% 0% (1,017)
               
TREND:
DEMOCRATS/DEM LEANERS ONLY

Favorable

Unfavorable
No
opinion
Not
heard of

(n)
Former Vice President
Joe Biden
64% 26% 7% 3% (357)
  — January  2020 73% 21% 5% 1% (372)
  — December  2019 76% 20% 4% 1% (384)
  — November 2019 76% 19% 5% 0% (345)
  — September 2019 72% 20% 7% 1% (434)
   — August 2019 66% 25% 8% 1% (298)
  — May 2019 74% 17% 7% 1% (334)
  — April  2019 72% 16% 12% 1% (330)
  — March  2019 76% 13% 9% 2% (310)
  — January  2019 80% 9% 8% 3% (313)
           
Vermont Senator
Bernie Sanders
72% 19% 9% 1% (357)
  — January  2020 72% 24% 4% 1% (372)
  — December  2019 74% 21% 3% 0% (384)
  — November 2019 72% 25% 3% 1% (345)
  — September 2019 75% 19% 5% 1% (434)
  — August 2019 64% 24% 10% 2% (298)
  — May 2019 65% 21% 12% 2% (334)
  — April  2019 65% 21% 13% 1% (330)
  — March  2019 70% 17% 10% 3% (310)
  — January  2019 68% 19% 9% 4% (313)
           
Massachusetts Senator
Elizabeth Warren
67% 19% 8% 6% (357)
  — January  2020 66% 20% 9% 6% (372)
  — December  2019 76% 15% 6% 4% (384)
  — November 2019 79% 9% 9% 4% (345)
  — September 2019 75% 9% 10% 6% (434)
  — August 2019 65% 13% 16% 7% (298)
  — May 2019 60% 14% 14% 12% (334)
  — April  2019 51% 19% 18% 12% (330)
  — March  2019 49% 19% 15% 17% (310)
  — January  2019 57% 17% 16% 11% (313)
           
Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor
Pete Buttigieg
55% 19% 15% 11% (357)
  — January  2020 49% 22% 17% 13% (372)
  — December  2019 53% 18% 14% 14% (384)
  — November 2019 49% 16% 21% 13% (345)
  — September 2019 53% 12% 18% 17% (434)
  — August 2019 43% 14% 20% 23% (298)
  — May 2019 35% 11% 24% 30% (334)
  — April  2019 35% 6% 25% 34% (330)
  — March  2019
  — January  2019 8% 6% 27% 58% (313)
           
Minnesota Senator
Amy Klobuchar
49% 18% 22% 12% (357)
  — January  2020 50% 18% 18% 14% (372)
  — December  2019
  — November 2019
  — September 2019
   — August 2019 27% 18% 34% 20% (298)
  — May 2019 32% 10% 28% 30% (334)
  — April  2019 27% 13% 28% 32% (330)
  — March  2019 26% 13% 29% 33% (310)
  — January  2019 23% 8% 30% 39% (313)
           
Former New York Mayor
Mike Bloomberg
48% 34% 16% 3% (357)
  — January  2020 48% 31% 18% 4% (372)
  — December  2019 40% 39% 16% 5% (384)
  — November 2019
  — September 2019
   — August 2019
  — May 2019
  — April  2019
  — March  2019 27% 26% 31% 17% (310)
  — January  2019 35% 25% 33% 7% (313)

[ASKED OF EVERYONE:]        

11X. Do you feel optimistic or pessimistic about the 2020 presidential election? [PROBE: Is that very or somewhat (optimistic/pessimistic)]?

ALL REGISTERED VOTERS Feb.
2020
Very optimistic 35%
Somewhat optimistic 30%
Somewhat pessimistic 18%
Very pessimistic 12%
(VOL) Neither, don’t care 3%
(VOL) Don’t know 2%
(n) (827)

PRIOR QUESTION WORDING FOR REFERENCE: Thinking about the 2016 election, do you feel optimistic or pessimistic about electing a new president?

COMPARISON: ALL REGISTERED VOTERS Feb.
2020
Aug.
2016
June.
2015
Optimistic 65% 55% 69%
Pessimistic 30% 39% 25%
(VOL) Neither 3% 3% 4%
(VOL) Don’t know 2% 3% 2%
(n) (827) (803) (829)

[ASKED OF EVERYONE:]

11Y. Compared to past elections, are you more enthusiastic than usual, less enthusiastic, or about the same as past elections?

TREND: ALL REGISTERED VOTERS Feb.
2020
Aug.
2016*
June.
2015*
More enthusiastic 39% 21% 21%
Less enthusiastic 21% 46% 22%
About the same 40% 31% 57%
(VOL) Don’t know 1% 2% 1%
(n) (827) (803) (829)

     *Asked about the 2016 Presidential election

[Q12-21 previously released.]

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from February 6 to 9, 2020 with a national random sample of 902 adults age 18 and older, in English. This includes 362 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 540 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone. The results in this poll release are based on a subsample of 827 registered voters. Telephone numbers were selected through random digit dialing and landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. The full sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information (CPS 2018 supplement). Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and Dynata (RDD sample). For results based on the registered voter sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)
REGISTERED VOTERS  
 
27% Republican
39% Independent
33% Democrat
 
46% Male
54% Female
 
26% 18-34
34% 35-54
39% 55+
 
65% White
13% Black
15% Hispanic
  8% Asian/Other
 
66% No degree
34% 4 year degree
 
 
DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)
DEMOCRATIC VOTERS
 
38% Male
62% Female
 
29% 18-34
35% 35-54
36% 55+
 
56% White
20% Black
17% Hispanic
  7% Asian/Other
 
63% No degree
37% 4 year degree
  

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and crosstabs by key demographic groups.

Download this Poll Report with crosstabs

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