The poll shows that fewer than a quarter of women Democratic primary voters said they would vote for Warren and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., if the primary or caucus were held today. When asked which Democratic presidential primary candidates they would vote for, 18% of women chose Warren and 3% chose Klobuchar.
“The race for the Democratic primary started out with a widely diverse field of candidates, including several potentially strong women,” said Jill Darling, survey director for the poll. “Our polling shows, however, that Democrats’ fear of a second Trump win has seemingly overcome any potential for identity voting; one example of that is women are not overwhelmingly backing female candidates.”
“We had a whole primary campaign play out and a dispute over whether Sanders said a woman couldn’t win. During the ensuing dust-up, there’s been no drive of women voters toward either Warren or Klobuchar,” said Shrum. “We see also it when we look at these match-ups against Trump.”
“Among women voters, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are doing better against Trump than either Elizabeth Warren or Klobuchar,” said Murphy. “There’s this equation you read about in the punditocracy that women voters vote for women candidates, and it’s not what voters are telling us.”
Fewer men support either female candidate, the poll showed, with 13% backing Warren and 3% for Klobuchar.
Among Democratic primary voters and independents who lean toward voting Democratic, 67% of those who say they are voting for their candidate because he can win against Trump in the general election chose Biden. Only 8% of those voters chose Sanders and 5% chose Warren.
Just over one in four (27%) of those who are voting for a candidate who shares their values chose Warren, compared to 20% of that group who back Sanders. Only 7% of values votes chose Bloomberg.
Sanders and Warren split voters who want a candidate who can bring change, garnering roughly one third of the vote each, compared to 15% who chose Biden.
“Bernie Sanders voters don’t say winning is the most important thing, reminding me of the support for other candidates who were perceived to be incredibly unelectable at the beginning of their campaigns,” said Murphy. “Both Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump wound up getting elected. The ghosts of primaries past are rattling their chains here.”
How bored, excited, anxious and enthusiastic are voters?
Participants were asked to rank themselves on a scale of how anxious or worried they feel about who will be nominated in the Democratic primary (with 0 = completely anxious and 100 = not at all anxious), whether they are bored or excited about the Democratic primary campaign, and how enthusiastic they are about the choice of Democratic candidates.
Biden, Warren and Sanders voters are more excited about the Democratic primary and enthusiastic about the choice of Democratic candidates than voters who back other candidates, the poll found. Biden voters are the least anxious or worried about who will be nominated (53) compared to most other candidate voters, who averaged between 42 and 49.
View full survey and data sets at bit.ly/USCPolls
Methodology & Interview Opportunities
The sample of 5,862 U.S. residents, including 5680 eligible voters, participated from January 15 to January 28, 2020. The sample includes 4,869 registered voters, and 2,227 voters deemed likely to vote in the Democratic primaries and caucuses.
They are members of USC Dornsife’s Center for Economic and Social Research’s Understanding America Study (UAS) probability-based internet panel.
The poll was conducted in respondents’ choice of English or Spanish. The overall margin of sampling error is +/-2 percentage points for all eligible voters, registered voters, and Democratic primary likely voters. Margins of sampling error for other subgroups may be higher; these are provided in the associated crosstab release.
Numbers may not add to 100% due to rounding.
Information about the poll including methodology, question wording and results, as well as the archive of results of prior USC Dornsife/LA Times polls, are available online at bit.ly/USCPolls
About the poll
The USC Dornsife/LA Times poll is a partnership of The Los Angeles Times and two institutions of the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences: the Center for the Political Future and the Center for Economic and Social Research. For more information about the Center for Economic and Social Research Understanding America Study internet panel, visit https://uasdata.usc.edu.
The following experts at USC Dornsife who lead the poll are available for interviews upon request:
- Robert Shrum, director of the Center for the Political Future
- Michael Murphy, co-director of the Center for the Political Future
- Jill Darling, survey director of the Center for Economic and Social Research
Composite: Letty Avila. Image sources: iStock.