The 2020 presidential election cycle may not technically begin until after November of this year, but many aspiring Democrats are planning to jump into the ring. Boston’s Suffolk University polled likely voters in New Hampshire at the end of last month and found two clear frontrunners: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and former Vice President Joe Biden. “Pocahontas” herself is the frontrunner for 2020.
Since Warren reportedly announced she would not run for president in 2020 (though her meaning is debated), Suffolk University first polled likely Democratic voters on the prospective 2020 candidates without Warren.
Without Warren, Biden took first place (30 percent), with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in second (25.42 percent). Behind these frontrunners, no candidate received more than those who said they were undecided (12.2 percent).
Among the remaining candidates, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) led with 10.17 percent. Behind him came former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick at 8.14 percent, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) at 6.1 percent, Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) at 3.39 percent, and former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe at 1.69 percent.
When Suffolk included Warren as an option, she took first place at 25.76 percent. Biden took second at 20 percent. With Warren in the race, more Democrats said they were undecided (18.31 percent). Sanders fell to 12.54 percent, with Booker at 8.14 percent. Behind Booker came Harris (4.07 percent), Patrick (3.73 percent), Gillibrand (2.37 percent), and McAuliffe (2.03 percent).
These numbers suggest that Warren has broad support among New Hampshire Democrats, taking large percentages from Biden, Sanders, and Patrick. By the same token, more Democrats said they could not make up their mind if the Massachusetts senator were included.
Despite media reports that Warren would not run, she has been raising an impressive war chest for 2018 and seems to harbor 2020 ambitions. In context, the remarks that seemed to rule out a 2020 run actually do no such thing.
“This government is working better and better and better for a thinner and thinner slice at the top. I am in these fights, and I am in this fight to retain my Senate seat in 2018. That’s where I’m focused. That’s where I’m going to stay focused. I’m not running for president,” Warren said in March.
Warren did not say she would not run for president, but that she was not running for president at that time. She faces re-election to the Senate in November, and her focus remains on that race. As soon as she wins re-election in November, Warren will likely transition into a presidential run.
President Trump’s referring to Warren as “Pocahontas” may have merely helped the Massachusetts senator become a Democratic celebrity. Trump’s nickname seemed the perfect dig, as Warren may have used her questionable Native American status to benefit from affirmative action and get ahead in her career.
Cries for Warren to take a DNA test and prove her Cherokee heritage have increased, but the issue is likely irrelevant to most Democrats. The “Pocahontas” scandal is a real scandal, but whether or not Warren used her purported minority status to get ahead, she remains an impressive debater and powerful spokeswoman for the cause of socialistic big government.
Warren may have cheated to get ahead, but Republicans should acknowledge her quick wit and impressive knowledge. She is a formidable foe, intellectually. Even so, Trump arguably connects with the average voter far more than she does.
Joe Biden will likely connect to average Americans much better than Warren would (given his aggressive macho stance against Trump), but he carries a great deal more baggage than “Pocahontas.” Biden’s son Hunter reaped huge rewards in China even as his father went soft of the East Asian country, and Hunter made a great deal of money with a firm in Ukraine after his father’s diplomatic missions there.
If there was any doubt the likely Democrat would face President Donald Trump, this poll suggests otherwise.
Suffolk University also polled Republicans for the 2020 primary, and no one came close to competing with the president. Trump would perform best in a primary challenge from Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) — 72.06 percent to Flake’s 14.6 percent.
The sitting president would also defeat Ohio Governor John Kasich (68.25 percent to Kasich’s 23.49 percent) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) (65.7 percent to Rubio’s 23.17 percent). Former Massachusetts Governor (and current U.S. Senate candidate in Utah) Mitt Romney performed best against Trump, but even he only got 28.25 percent to Trump’s 62.86 percent.
Both Jeff Flake and John Kasich have teased a potential challenge in 2020, but neither is close to competing with him, according to these results. Trump also beat Flake and Kasich in another New Hampshire poll released last month. While young Republicans want Trump to face a primary challenge, it seems unlikely any Republican would be able to unseat him.
It is still extremely early to be discussing the 2020 race, but these early polls predict a Trump-Warren election. If nothing else, such a race would be perfect for TV ratings.