Biden Jumps Far Ahead, But 39% of Democrats Say Let Tulsi Debate
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Democratic voters are closely divided over whether Tulsi Gabbard should be included in their party’s next presidential debate, but they overwhelmingly put their money on Joe Biden to be the ultimate nominee.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 63% of Likely Democratic Voters now feel Biden best represents the party and would make the best candidate against President Trump. Just 24% opt for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders instead, while four percent (4%) see Gabbard as that candidate. Nine percent (9%) remain undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Support among Democrats for Biden has jumped from 32% just over a week ago, while Sanders has fallen back slightly from 28% at that time. In between, the former vice president has largely swept the Super Tuesday and March 10 Democratic primaries, and many of the other hopefuls have dropped out of the race and endorsed him.
Gabbard, the only other remaining candidate for the Democratic nomination, has been excluded from most of the party’s debates for a lack of support in polls. Despite Gabbard’s winning two delegates on Super Tuesday, the Democratic leadership changed its rules to bar her from participating in the debate scheduled for next Sunday.
But 39% of Democrats believe Gabbard should be allowed to participate in the debate with Biden and Sanders. Forty-four percent (44%) disagree. A sizable 17% are undecided.
Among all likely voters, 49% say Gabbard should be allowed to debate. Thirty-six percent (36%) disagree, while 15% are not sure.
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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted March 9-10, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Voters expect Biden to easily beat Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination and would opt for Biden over Trump if the general election were held today.
Forty-nine percent (49%) of all voters think Biden would make the best candidate against the president. Only 19% feel that way about Sanders. Early last week, it was Biden 26%, Sanders 20% among all voters. Thirteen percent (13%) now prefer Gabbard. Another 19% are undecided.
Twenty-eight percent (28%) have a favorable opinion of Gabbard, a congresswoman from Hawaii, while 38% view her unfavorably. But one-in-three voters (34%) don’t know enough about her to voice any kind of opinion.
Among Democrats, 25% share a favorable view of Gabbard, 44% do not. This includes seven percent (7%) with a Very Favorable opinion and 25% with a Very Unfavorable one. Thirty-one percent (31%) are not sure what they think of her.
Although Gabbard is the last woman in the presidential race, women are less supportive of including her in the next debate than men are. Women are also less likely to know enough about her to venture a favorable or unfavorable opinion.
Most Democrats said in December that it was important for their party to choose a woman or person of color as their presidential or vice presidential nominee.
Sanders appears to have been hurt by his outspoken embrace of socialism, even though Democrats, especially younger ones, like the big government political ideology more than Republicans and unaffiliated voters do.
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