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Update, Capitol Weekly tracking poll: the Warren surge

Presidential contender Elizabeth Warren at a town hall meeting in San Diego. (Photo: Jeffrey Allan Photography, via Shutterstock)

Capitol Weekly’s October Democratic primary tracking survey shows Elizabeth Warren continuing to storm the field with another 7-point gain, putting her at 35% and a healthy 14-points ahead of her nearest rival, Vice President Joe Biden. Biden has risen by 3 points since September, despite the massive national controversy around Ukraine and President Trump’s accusations regarding his son.

Initial President Vote N=590
Elizabeth Warren     209 35%
Joe Biden     125 21%
Bernie Sanders       91 15%
Kamala Harris       45 8%
Peter Buttigieg       34 6%
Andrew Yang       21 3%
Cory Booker       12 2%
Tulsi Gabbard       11 2%
Julian Castro       10 2%
Marianne Williamson         7 1%
Amy Klobuchar         5 1%
Tom Steyer         4 1%
Tim Ryan         1 0%

This gain for Warren appears to have come at the expense of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who faced a health setback last month. The Tableau Infographic with additional ways to slice the data provides a way to see just where any further movement of Sanders support would go, and the survey shows that over the life of the poll, 46% of his supporters would go to Warren, if they haven’t already.

While Warren and Sanders have been seen to be drawing from the same well of progressive voters, there are sharp contrasts in where they are getting their support.  As the full crosstabs (available here) show, Warren does well across age groups and income levels, with her weakest support among young people still at a relatively healthy 21%.  At the same time, Sanders is very polarized based on age, ranging from 40% among 18-34 year-olds to just a fraction of that among Seniors.

18-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+
Elizabeth Warren 21% 50% 39% 32% 39%
Bernie Sanders 40% 14% 9% 7% 6%

The relationship between income and support is a bit counter-intuitive with Warren, the candidate most vocal about a wealth tax, actually doing best among higher income voters.

< $50K $50- <75K $75K- <150K $150K+
Elizabeth Warren 28% 27% 43% 42%
Joe Biden 19% 26% 21% 20%
Bernie Sanders 29% 14% 10% 7%
Kamala Harris 6% 11% 3% 12%
Pete Buttigieg 4% 3% 6% 10%

Warren also enjoys a wide 11-point gender gap, while Sanders finds himself doing 9-points better among men.

Male Female
Elizabeth Warren 32% 41%
Bernie Sanders 20% 11%

The Democratic presidential primary is still in early phases, with a 12-person debate bringing two more candidates on to the stage, including first-time debate participant Tom Steyer.  The Steyer campaign and media offensive has been focused in the other early primary states, and it shows in this polling.  For the October survey only four respondents selected the San Francisco billionaire and Democratic activist.

Another story from this election cycle has been the continued drop of California’s junior U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, now at only 8% in our tracking survey.  While her numbers have been falling, she is still in fourth, just outside the top tier, and she is within the top three of both “second choice” and “candidates I want to learn more about” questions.


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