Suffolk University/USA Today Poll: Biden Leads Sanders and Warren

Trump leads all Democrats when third-party option is presented

Newcomer Bloomberg fifth in Democratic field

Former Vice President Joe Biden leads a Democratic field of 15 candidates and is the strongest candidate against President Donald Trump, according to a Suffolk University/USA TODAY nationwide poll of registered voters.

Biden (23 percent) led Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (14 percent), Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (13 percent), South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (8 percent), former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (6 percent), Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker (tied at 3 percent), and businessman Andrew Yang (2 percent). The other candidates received less than 1 percent each, while 25 percent of likely Democratic primary voters and caucus-goers were undecided.

The poll shows Biden dominating among African-American voters, leading Sanders, his closest competitor, 42 percent to 11 percent in this important demographic; no other candidate reached double digits among this group of voters.

“Joe Biden keeps chugging along,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “His strong position nationally is due to the loyalty of African-American voters who remember his wingman support of President Obama and his administration.”

General-election scenarios

Biden also was the strongest general-election candidate against Trump, though all Democrats ran second to Trump when a generic third-party option was presented. In that scenario Trump (44 percent) led Biden (41 percent), with 11 percent of voters saying they would choose a third-party candidate and 4 percent undecided. Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, and Bloomberg each trailed Trump by between 5 and 10 points.

Bloomberg ad blitz

Bloomberg’s massive political ad buy over the past several weeks appears to have had an impact; he has vaulted into fifth position among Democrats. A majority of registered voters (58 percent) reported seeing his ads, while 40 percent had not. Among those voters who had seen the ads, 7 percent said the ads were very convincing, 28 percent indicated somewhat convincing, 21 percent said not very convincing, and 38 percent said not at all convincing. Among those who did find his ads convincing, Bloomberg was running second at 12 percent to Biden’s 28 percent, followed by Buttigieg at 11 percent; Warren, 9 percent; and Sanders, 6 percent.

Attitudes about impeachment

The House of Representatives was preparing to vote on two articles of impeachment as the survey was conducted, and voters’ responses show the country sharply divided on the issue. Forty-two percent of voters said the House should drop its investigations into the president and his administration, while 41 percent believe the House should vote to impeach Trump. Nearly 14 percent said the House should continue investigating Trump but should not impeach him. In the event of Trump’s being impeached, 51 percent said the Senate should not convict him, and 45 percent said the Senate should convict him and remove him from office.

However, impeachment as an issue ranked 11 among 12 voter concerns. In a question that accepted multiple responses, voters cited the economy (53 percent), health care (48 percent), and immigration (40 percent) as the most important issues influencing their vote for president, while 19 percent selected impeachment.

Given a list of public figures and political parties, voters had a positive reaction to only one: Melania Trump (49 percent favorable–27 percent unfavorable). A plurality disapproved of all others, including the president (52 percent unfavorable–44 percent favorable).

Methodology

The nationwide survey of 1,000 voters was conducted Dec. 10–14 using live telephone interviews of households where respondents indicated they were registered to vote. The margin of error is +/-3 percentage points at a 95 percent level of confidence. The margin of error for the subset of 384 voters who plan to vote in their state’s Democratic primary or caucus is +/- 5.0 percentage points. The margin of error for the subset of the 329 Republican respondents who plan to vote in their state’s Republican primary or caucus is +/- 5.4 percentage points. Results are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, dpaleologos@suffolk.edu.