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No Change in Trump Reelect Prospects

Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019

Warren and Biden lead Dem ‘beauty contest’

West Long Branch, NJ – Recent events have not moved public opinion in either direction on whether President Donald Trump deserves a second term. His reelection bid remains underwater, with particular signs of weakness among critical voting blocs.  The latest Monmouth University Poll also finds that Democratic voters nationwide are currently honing in on Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden as the leading contenders to take on Trump in 2020.  There are signs, though, that Biden could suffer some damage from the unfolding Ukraine story.

Just under 4-in-10 (39%) registered voters feel that Trump should be reelected in 2020, while a majority (57%) say it is time to have someone new in the Oval Office.  These results are identical to Monmouth’s August poll (39% reelect and 57% someone new).  This metric has been very stable since Monmouth started asking this question last November. Support for Trump’s reelection has stayed in a narrow range of 37% to 39% while the preference for someone new has ranged from 57% to 60%.

“Support for Trump’s reelection hasn’t budged, even after the events of last week. These revelations, or at least the way they were filtered through the media outlets used by different groups of voters, just served to confirm preexisting sentiment about the president on both sides,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Using a traditional party identification measure finds that support for Trump’s reelection comes from 81% of Republicans, 37% of independents and just 4% of Democrats. However, many independents actually lean toward one party or the other. When these “leaners” are combined with their fellow partisans, support for Trump’s reelection does not change significantly among Republicans (80%) or Democrats (4%), but it does go down to 25% among “true” independents. These voters, who do not lean toward either party, make up about 14% of the total electorate in the poll.

In approximately 300 “swing” counties across the country, accounting for about one-fifth of the total U.S. electorate, only 31% back the incumbent’s reelection compared with 64% who want a new occupant in the White House.  In 2016, Trump lost the cumulative vote in these counties by just one percentage point.

“Trump’s base is sticking with him, but these results suggest that the president remains particularly weak among voting blocs that were crucial to putting him over the top in 2016,” said Murray.

Donald Trump currently has a 43% favorable and 56% unfavorable personal rating among registered voters.  This negative -13 point gap in his rating is an even larger -20 points among those who hold a strong opinion of the president, coming in at 30% very favorable and 50% very unfavorable.

The leading Democratic contenders taking on Trump in 2020 hold somewhat better ratings from the American electorate. Biden has a net +1 rating of 46% favorable and 45% unfavorable, although he has a net negative -7 point rating among those who have a strong opinion of him (20% very favorable and 27% very unfavorable).  Warren gets a net +2 rating of 42% favorable and 40% unfavorable, which drops to a negative -9 point rating among those with a strong opinion (22% very favorable and 31% very unfavorable).

“Personal ratings can be an indication of potential strengths and weaknesses for these candidates. Right now it looks possible that we could see a repeat of 2016 where both major party nominees end up being relatively disliked by voters. However, Trump is starting off at a clear disadvantage on this metric,” said Murray.

Among other leading Democratic candidates, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has the highest negative ratings at 42% favorable and 49% unfavorable, with strong opinion standing at 18% very favorable and 37% very unfavorable. California Sen. Kamala Harris also earns a net negative rating of 33% favorable and 42% unfavorable, with strong opinion standing at just 12% very favorable and 30% very unfavorable. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg earns a split rating of 30% favorable and 31% unfavorable and a slightly negative 13% very favorable and 20% very unfavorable among those with a strong opinion, but nearly 4-in-10 voters (39%) have no opinion or have not heard of him at this point.

The Monmouth poll also finds that 43% of registered voters believe Trump’s claim that Biden probably did pressure Ukrainian officials to keep them from investigating his son’s business interests there. This compares to 37% who say that Biden probably did not do this and 20% who are unsure.  Among self-identified Republicans and Republican-leaning voters, 67% say Biden probably did this and 15% say he did not, with 17% being unsure. Among self-identified Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters, 21% say Biden probably did this and 60% say he did not, with 18% being unsure. Among true independents, 39% say Biden probably did this and 27% say he did not, with 34% being unsure.

“The fact that 4-in-10 independents are inclined to believe what they have heard from Trump is a warning sign for the Biden campaign.  How the candidate fights back against this charge will be crucial to his argument of electability,” said Murray.

DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY

The poll finds Warren (28%) and Biden (25%) at the front of the pack for the presidential nomination preferences of self-identified Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters across the country, with Sanders (15%) following behind. Monmouth’s August poll, which showed a three-way race at the top among Warren (20%), Biden (19%), and Sanders (20%), was considered an outlier at the time it was released. Still, Biden’s backing remains lower in the current poll than it was early in the summer (32% in June) whereas Warren’s support continues to grow (15% in June). Support for Sanders is in line with where it stood in June (14%).

The rest of the field includes Buttigieg at 5% (similar to his 4% to 5% showing in Monmouth polls since June) and Harris at 5% (down from her range of 8% in summer polling). Entrepreneur Andrew Yang and author Marianne Williamson each earn 2%, while the remaining 11 candidates included in the poll register 1% or less.

As found in Monmouth’s August poll, Warren (28%) and Biden (25%) share front-runner status among Democratic voters in “early states” that hold contests in February or on Super Tuesday. However, while Warren continues to gain support among Democrats living in states which hold nominating contests later in the calendar (28% now compared to 16% in June), Biden has lost ground as the favored candidate there (25% now compared to 38% in June).

“The top-line numbers in Monmouth’s August poll may have differed from other polls at that time, but the underlying trend line we saw then has carried over. Biden’s drop in the national ‘beauty contest’ is coming mainly from voters in states that hold nominating contests after Super Tuesday,” said Murray.

2020 DEMOCRATIC SUPPORT by state primary schedule *

 
EARLY STATES OTHER STATES
  Sep‘19 Aug‘19 Jun‘19 May‘19 Sep‘19 Aug‘19 Jun‘19 May‘19
Elizabeth Warren 28% 20% 15% 9% 28% 20% 16% 11%
Joe Biden 25% 20% 26% 26% 25% 17% 38% 38%
Bernie Sanders 14% 16% 15% 14% 16% 23% 13% 16%
Pete Buttigieg 5% 4% 4% 6% 6% 4% 6% 6%
Kamala Harris 5% 12% 11% 14% 4% 5% 5% 8%
  * Early states include those scheduled to hold a primary/caucus in February 2020 or on Super Tuesday (March 3rd).

Warren continues to see her ratings improve with every new poll.  She currently earns a 75% favorable and 9% unfavorable rating among Democrats and Democratic-leaners, which is up from 65%-13% in August and 60%-14% in May.  Ratings for Sanders have also ticked up from past polls, now standing at 75% favorable and 19% unfavorable, compared with 64%-24% in August and 65%-21% in May.  Biden has seen his ratings bounce back from the August poll. He now gets a 72% favorable and 20% unfavorable, up from 66%-25% in August and more in line with his 74%-17% rating in May. Warren has the strongest net rating score (favorable minus unfavorable) in the Democratic field at +66 points, compared to +56 for Sanders and +52 for Biden.

2020 CANDIDATE OPINION AMONG DEMOCRATIC VOTERS
Net favorability rating: Sep ‘19 Aug ‘19 May ‘19 Apr ‘19 Mar ‘19 Jan ‘19
Elizabeth Warren +66 +52 +46 +32 +30 +40
Bernie Sanders +56 +40 +44 +44 +53 +49
Joe Biden +52 +41 +57 +56 +63 +71
Kamala Harris +42 +39 +49 +40 +42 +33
Pete Buttigieg +41 +29 +24 +29 n/a +2
             

Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters who feel that Biden pressured Ukraine officials not to investigate his son, 45% have a favorable view of the candidate, 48% have an unfavorable view. Among those who feel this did not happen, 85% have a favorable view and 10% have an unfavorable one.  Among those who are unsure about the claims of Biden’s actions in Ukraine, 61% have a favorable view of him and 20% have an unfavorable one.

“This is a bit of a chicken and egg problem. It is likely that many of those Democrats who say Biden pressured Ukraine were never going to be his supporters to begin with,” said Murray. Among those who say Biden probably pressured Ukraine, 31% support Sanders for the party’s presidential nomination, 15% support Biden, 15% support Warren, 5% back Buttigieg, 4% back Harris, and many others throw their support to candidates who are not polling well overall, such as Williamson (5%), former cabinet secretary Julián Castro (4%), and Yang (3%).

Of the other two Democratic contenders included in the poll, Buttigieg has seen his ratings tick up as he has become better known.  He now stands at 53% favorable and 12% unfavorable, compared to 43%-14% in August and 35%-11% in May.  Ratings for Harris have held relatively steady among her fellow Democratic voters with a current 60% favorable and 18% unfavorable rating, compared with 56%-17% in August and 58%-9% in May.

The Democratic National Committee recently announced that all 12 candidates who qualified for this month’s debate will appear on the same stage. Democratic voters are divided on this – 48% want to see all the candidates together on one night while 46% would prefer to split them over two nights. Just under 6-in-10 Democrats (58%) say they plan to watch the debate live, which is identical to the level of interest expressed for watching the first debate back in June (58%).

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from September 23 to 29, 2019 with 1,161 adults in the United States. The results in this release are based on 1,017 registered voters and have a +/- 3.1 percentage point sampling margin of error.  This release also includes results based on 434 voters who identify as Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party which have a margin of error of +/- 4.7 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.)

[Q1-4 previously released.]

[Note: Q5 was rotated with Q4-Trump impeachment question, which was released yesterday.]

5. 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: REGISTERED VOTERS Sept.
2019
Aug.
2019
June
2019
May
2019
March
2019
Jan.
2019
Nov.
2018
Should be reelected 39% 39% 37% 37% 38% 38% 37%
Someone else in office 57% 57% 59% 60% 57% 57% 58%
(VOL) Don’t know 4% 4% 4% 4% 5% 5% 4%
(n) (1,017) (689) (660) (719) (746) (735) (716)

[Q6 WAS ASKED OF DEMOCRATS/LEANING DEMOCRATIC VOTERS]

6. I know the 2020 election is far away, but who would you support for the Democratic nomination for president if the candidates were the following? [INCLUDES LEANERS] [NAMES WERE ROTATED]

TREND:
(with leaners)
Sept.
2019
Aug.
2019
June
2019
May
2019
April
2019
March
2019
Jan.
2019
Elizabeth Warren 28% 20% 15% 10% 6% 8% 8%
Joe Biden 25% 19% 32% 33% 27% 28% 29%
Bernie Sanders 15% 20% 14% 15% 20% 25% 16%
Pete Buttigieg 5% 4% 5% 6% 8% <1% 0%
Kamala Harris 5% 8% 8% 11% 8% 10% 11%
Marianne Williamson 2% 2% 1% 1% <1% <1% n/a
Andrew Yang 2% 3% 2% 1% <1% 1% 1%
Cory Booker 1% 4% 2% 1% 2% 5% 4%
Julián Castro 1% 2% <1% 1% <1% 1% 1%
Amy Klobuchar 1% 1% 1% 3% 1% 3% 2%
Beto O’Rourke 1% 2% 3% 4% 4% 6% 7%
Tom Steyer 1% <1% n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Steve Bullock <1% <1% 0% 0% 0% 0% n/a
John Delaney <1% 0% 0% <1% 0% 0% <1%
Tulsi Gabbard <1% 1% 1% 1% 0% <1% 1%
Joe Sestak <1% <1% n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Michael Bennet 0% <1% 0% <1% 0% <1% n/a
Tim Ryan 0% 0% <1% <1% 0% n/a n/a
(VOL) Other <1% 2% 2% 2% 5% 6% 9%
(VOL) No one 2% <1% 1% 2% 3% <1% 3%
(VOL) Undecided 10% 10% 11% 9% 14% 8% 9%
  (n) (434) (298) (306) (334) (330) (310) (313)

[Q7 WAS ASKED OF DEMOCRATS/LEANING DEMOCRATIC VOTERS]

7. The next Democratic debate will be held in mid-October.  Do you plan to watch this debate live, watch clips later, or do you not plan to watch the October debate?

TREND: Sept.
2019
June
2019*
Plan to watch live 58% 58%
Watch clips later 27% 27%
Not plan to watch 13% 14%
(VOL) Don’t know 1% 1%
(n) (434) (306)

     [*Asked about the first debates in June.]

[Q8 WAS ASKED OF DEMOCRATS/LEANING DEMOCRATIC VOTERS]

8. It looks like 12 candidates will qualify for this debate.  Should all the candidates appear together on the same night or should the debate be divided over two nights with half the candidates appearing each night?

  Sept.
2019
Same night 48%
Divided over two nights 46%
(VOL) Don’t know 6%
(n) (434)

[Q9 WAS ASKED OF DEMOCRATS/LEANING DEMOCRATIC VOTERS]

9. If the debate is divided into two nights, should the candidates be randomly assigned to each night regardless of their standing in the polls, or should the top polling candidates appear together on the same night and the remaining candidates appear on the other night?

  Sept.
2019
Randomly assigned 57%
Top polling candidates appear together 34%
(VOL) Don’t know 9%
(n) (434)

10. 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]

ALL REGISTERED VOTERS: Very favorable Somewhat favorable Somewhat unfavorable Very unfavorable No
opinion
Not heard of (n)
Former Vice President Joe Biden 20% 26% 18% 27% 8% 1% (1,017)
               
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders 18% 24% 12% 37% 7% 1% (1,017)
               
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren 22% 20% 9% 31% 11% 8% (1,017)
               
California Senator Kamala Harris 12% 21% 12% 30% 14% 11% (1,017)
               
South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg 13% 17% 11% 20% 18% 21% (1,017)
               
President Donald Trump 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 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 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 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)
           
California Senator Kamala Harris 60% 18% 13% 9% (434)
   — August 2019 56% 17% 16% 11% (298)
   — May 2019 58% 9% 15% 18% (334)
   — April  2019 50% 10% 19% 21% (330)
   — March  2019 53% 11% 16% 20% (310)
   — January  2019 46% 13% 21% 20% (313)
           
South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg 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)
           

[Q11-15 previously released.]

16. President Trump claims that Joe Biden put pressure on Ukrainian officials to get them not to investigate his son’s business dealings there.  Do you think Biden probably did or probably did not do this?

ALL REGISTERED VOTERS Sept.
2019
Probably did 43%
Probably did not 37%
(VOL) Don’t know 20%
(n) (1,017)

[Q17-30 held for future release.]

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from September 23 to 29, 2019 with a national random sample of 1,161 adults age 18 and older, in English. This includes 465 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 696 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone. The results in this poll release are based on a subsample of 1,017 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. Final sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information. 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 3.1 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
42% Independent
31% Democrat
 
48% Male
52% Female
 
28% 18-34
35% 35-54
37% 55+
 
64% White
12% Black
16% Hispanic
  7% Asian/Other
 
66% No degree
34% 4 year degree
 
 
DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)
DEMOCRATIC VOTERS
 
37% Male
63% Female
 
29% 18-34
35% 35-54
36% 55+
 
56% White
21% Black
19% Hispanic
  5% 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