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July National Poll: Biden Extends Support While Bernie Bounces Back

In Emerson’s latest poll, former Vice President Joe Biden continues to lead the Democratic Primary by a significant margin. Biden’s numbers increased slightly to 33% from the last Emerson national poll in which Biden received 30% of the vote. Sen. Bernie Sanders had the largest bounce of any candidate, increasing by 5 points to 20%, Sen. Elizabeth Warren dropped a point to 14% and Sen. Kamala Harris dropped 4 points to 11%. The only other candidates above 3% are Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 6% and former Congressman Beto O’Rourke at 4%. Data was collected July 27-29 of 520 Democratic primary voters, +/- 4.2% margin of error.


Sanders re-established his lead among 18-29 year olds receiving 36% support among that age group, in the earlier July poll Sanders was at 24% of the vote among 18-29 year olds. Warren follows him now with 17% of the youth vote, followed by Biden with 12% and Buttigieg with 10%. Among 30-49 year olds, Biden leads with 24%, followed by Sanders with 21%, Warren with 14% and Harris with 10%. Biden has a greater lead with those age 50-64 with 46% support, followed by Sanders with 15%, Warren with 14% and Harris with 13%. And then among those over the age of 65, Biden also leads with 51% support, followed by Harris with 11%, Warren with 10% and Sanders with 8%.


Among Democratic Primary voters that describe themselves as “Very Liberal”, Sanders leads with 30%, followed by Warren at 25%, Biden at 16% and Harris at 13%. Among those that describe themselves as “Somewhat Liberal”, Biden leads with 31%, followed by Sanders at 22%, Warren at 15% and Harris at 9%. And among voters who describe themselves as “Moderate” or “Conservative”, Biden leads with 45% support, followed by Sanders at 12%, Harris at 11% and Warren at 7%. 


Of respondents who voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic Primary, 47% support Biden, 15% support Warren, 14% support Harris and 10% support Sanders. Of those voted for Sanders in the 2016 Primary, 36% still support him, 19% support Biden, and 11% support Warren and Harris. 


President Trump’s job approval improved slightly from early this month and is now at 45% approval and 46% disapproval. His support within the Republican party continues to be strong as Trump dominates a potential primary against former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld 91% to 8%. The Republican primary poll was n=467 with a +/-4.5%.


In potential head to head matchups, President Trump runs slightly closer to some of his potential Democratic opponents than in previous Emerson polls. Biden and Sanders each lead Trump by 2 points at 51% to 49%, Warren is tied at 50% with Trump, and Harris and Buttigieg both trail by 4 points, 48% to 52%. Spencer Kimball, Director of the Emerson Poll, notes how “this is the second poll where Biden has seen his general election support dip since the first debate. This may have to do with the more liberal positions he took, but in the last 3 weeks his head to head matchups with Trump have tightened 8 points.”


When asked to choose the most important issue in determining their vote for president, immigration tops the list for voters at 24%, followed closely by the economy at 22%. The issue of impeachment jumped from under 5% in the last two Emerson polls to the third most important issue, at 12%.


There is a party divide on this question, as among Republican primary voters, 40% chose immigration as the most important issue, followed by the economy at 31%, and gun control and social issues at 8%. Among Democratic primary voters, impeachment is the most important issue at 19%, followed by healthcare at 16%, and social issues and the economy at 13%. 


Among those who voted for Donald Trump in 2016, 41% say their most determining issue for their vote in 2020 is immigration, followed by the economy at 28%, whereas the plurality of Clinton voters say impeachment is the most important issue at 21%, followed by health care at 15%. Kimball notes “the Democrats are taking a gamble with an increased emphasis on impeachment proceedings following the Mueller hearings, considering how effective their Healthcare argument was in 2018. It would seem to make sense to stick with that issue, but now the party seems torn between the two.” 


Voters appear less excited for the second set of Democratic debates coming up this week, with 57% of respondents planning on watching some or part of the debates compared to the 72% who planned to watch the June debates. 



The Democratic House leadership is struggling with favorability among voters; Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a 28% favorable opinion and a 46% unfavorable opinion. The House “squad,” consisting of Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Illan Omar and Ayanna Pressley share this image problem. Ocasio-Cortez is at 30% favorable and 47% unfavorable, Tlaib is at 26% favorable and 42% unfavorable, Omar is at 25% favorable and 46% unfavorable, and Pressley is at 24% favorable and 35% unfavorable. 


Among Democrats, Pelosi is at 51% favorable/18% unfavorable, Ocasio-Cortez is at 54% favorable/17% unfavorable, Omar is at 46% favorable/20% unfavorable, Tlaib is at 48% favorable/17% unfavorable and Pressley is at 44% favorable/14% unfavorable. 


Caller ID

The national Emerson College poll was conducted July 27-29, 2019 under the Supervision of Emerson Polling Director Assistant Professor Spencer Kimball. The sample consisted of registered voters, n=1,233, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 2.7 percentage points. The data was weighted by age, region, income, and education based on 2016 turnout modeling. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, party breakdown, ethnicity and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using both an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines only (n=794) and an online panel provided by Amazon Turk (n=439).


Key Takeaways
  • Impeachment is the number one issue for Democratic primary voters
  • Sanders in second in the Dem primary, Warren and Harris fall to third and fourth
  • Republicans choose immigration as most important voting issue
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Quotes
This is the second poll where Biden has seen his general election support dip since the first debate. This may have to do with the more liberal pos...
Spencer KimballEmerson Polling director
The Democrats are taking a gamble with an increased emphasis on impeachment proceedings following the Mueller hearings, considering how effective t...
Spencer KimballEmerson Polling director
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