April National Poll: Bernie Takes Lead for Democratic Nomination, Mayor Pete On The Move

A new national Emerson poll, including 20 Democratic candidates for President, found Senator Bernie Sanders ahead of the pack with 29%, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden at 24%. They were followed by Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 9%, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Senator Kamala Harris at 8%, and Senator Elizabeth Warren at 7%. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang and former HUD secretary Julian Castro were at 3%. The poll was conducted April 11-14 of Democratic Primary voters with a subset of n=356, +/- 5.2%.

Spencer Kimball, Director of Emerson Polling, said “while still early in the nominating process, it looks like Mayor Pete is the candidate capturing voters’ imagination; the numbers had him at 0% in mid-February, 3% in March and now at 9% in April.”

Kimball also noted that “Biden has seen his support drop. In February, he led Sanders 27% to 17%, and in March the two were tied at 26%. Now, Sanders has a 5 point lead, 29% to 24%.”

If Joe Biden decides not to run, Bernie Sanders looks to be the early beneficiary, picking up 31% of Bidens’ voters. Mayor Pete Buttigieg gets 17% of the Biden vote, followed by Beto O’Rourke at 13%.

President Trump has seen his approval numbers nationally stay consistent in 2019 and is currently at 43% approval and 49% disapproval among voters (n=914, +/-3.2%), similar to last month’s numbers (43% to 50%). However, among Republican primary voters, Trump remains very popular and leads potential challenger, former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, 85% to 15% (n=324, +/-5.4%).

In a head to head ballot test, Joe Biden appears the strongest opponent against Trump of the major Democratic candidates with a 53% to 47% advantage. This result is down 4 points from Emerson’s March poll, where Biden led Trump 55% to 45%. This general tightening is seen in the other head-to heads against other potential opponents: (n=914, +/-3.2%)

  • Biden 53%, Trump 47%
  • Sanders 51%, Trump 48%
  • O’Rourke 51%, Trump 49%
  • Harris 50%, Trump 50%
  • Buttigieg 49%, Trump 51%
  • Warren 48%, Trump 52%


As of April 14, 2019, 73% of voters said they had filed their federal income tax returns, 17% plan to get them in on time and 4% have asked for an extension. 6% do not plan on filing returns.

36% of those who have filed their taxes say they are paying more compared to last year, with 29% saying they are paying less, and 35% saying they are paying about the same.

Of those who said they were receiving a tax return this year, 41% said they plan to use it to pay off debt, 31% plan to save it, and 13% will spend the money on enjoyment.

Campaign Issues

  • 47% of voters support building a wall on the US-Mexico Border, 45% oppose, 8% are undecided.
  • 41% of voters do not think large tech giants like Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google should be broken up, 29% think they should be broken up,  and 31% are undecided.
  • 43% of voters do not support American intervention in Venezuela to overthrow the Maduro Regime, 27% do support American intervention, 31% were unsure.
  • 55% of voters do not think individuals currently incarcerated should have the right to vote, 30% believe those incarcerated should be able to vote ,  and 15% are undecided on this issue.
  • 65% of voters think that felons who completed their prison sentences should have the right to vote, 23% do not,  and 12% are undecided.

Unlikely Voter

Voters who did not plan to vote in either party primary/caucus were asked why they were not planning on voting, 16% said lack of interest, 12% said they don’t like any of the candidates, 11% said it was too hard to vote, 6% said a lack of time,  and 55% responded that it was for some other reason that they do not plan to vote in the primaries.

Caller ID

The national Emerson College poll was conducted April 11-14, 2019 under the Supervision of Professor Spencer Kimball. The sample consisted of registered voters, n=914, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3.2 percentage points. The data was weighted based on a 2016 voter model of gender, age, party affiliation, region and ethnicity. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, party breakdown, ethnicity and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using both an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines only (n=599) and an online panel provided by Amazon Turk (n=315). 

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Full Results

National April TI

Massachusetts 2020: Sanders, Biden lead Warren in her home state; Mayor Pete in top four. Trump popular only with his base.

The first Emerson Poll in Massachusetts of the 2020 primary finds Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders with 26% of the vote in the Democratic field, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden at 23%, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren at 14%, Mayor of South Bend Pete Buttigieg at 11%, former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke at 8%, and California Senator Kamala Harris at 7%. 5% of voters are looking for another candidate. (April 4-7, n=371, +/- 5%).

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Nevada 2020: Biden and Sanders lead Democratic primary field; Trump Looks to Flip the Silver State Red

A new Emerson College poll in Nevada finds Joe Biden leading the Democratic field at 26%, followed closely by Bernie Sanders at 23%. Next, Beto O’Rourke and Elizabeth Warren have 10% respectively in the state, followed by Kamala Harris at 9%, and Pete Buttigieg at 5%. (n=310, +/- 5.5%)

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Pennsylvania 2020: Biden leads Democratic Field; Biden and Sanders lead Trump by 10 Points in General Election

The first Emerson Poll of 2019 in Pennsylvania shows former Vice President Joe Biden with a strong lead in the Democratic primary with 39% support. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is in second with 20%, followed by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren with 11%, and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg with 6%. (registered voters, March 26-28, n=359, +/- 5.1%).

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Iowa 2020: Biden and Sanders neck and neck in Democratic Field, Mayor Pete jumps to double digits

In Emerson’s second poll of the Iowa caucus, former Vice President Joe Biden narrowly leads the Democratic field with 25%, followed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders at 24%. Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana has surged to 11%. Senator Kamala Harris of California follows with 10% – the only other candidate to clear double digits in Iowa. Data was collected between March 21-24, and the Democratic caucus ballot test had a margin of error +/- 6.2%

Spencer Kimball, Director of the Emerson Poll concludes that “the biggest surprise in this poll is Mayor Pete, last week we saw him inching up in our national poll, and now he’s in double digits in Iowa, America is going to be asking who is ‘Mayor Pete’?” In Emerson’s January Iowa poll, prior to many candidates’ announcements, Biden led with 29%, followed by Harris, who had made her announcement just prior to the poll, at 18%, and Sanders, who had not yet formally declared, at 15%. Mayor Pete Buttigieg was polling at 0%.  

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National Poll: Sanders Tied with Biden; Beto Gets Post-Announcement Bump

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders are tied at 26% in the most recent Emerson national poll. Sanders’ support has increased 9 points from the Emerson February national poll, taken before he announced his campaign for President. Following the frontrunners in the poll are California Senator Kamala Harris at 12% and former Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke at 11%. O’Rourke’s support has increased 7 points from Emerson’s February national poll. Rounding out the top five is Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren at 8%. The poll was conducted March 17-18 of Democratic Primary voters with a subset of n=487, +/- 4.4%.

Sanders holds a strong advantage among 18-29 year olds, receiving 42% of their vote. Sanders also leads among 30-49 year olds with 30% support, while Biden leads among those 50-64 years old (39%) and 65 years or older (33%). Among those who supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Primaries, Joe Biden leads with 36%, followed by Harris and Sanders at 13%, O’Rourke at 12% and Warren at 8%. Of those who supported Sanders in the 2016 primary, 41% still support him, 18% now support Biden, 11% support Harris, 10% support Warren and 9% support O’Rourke.

President Trump’s approval rating has remained the same – 43% from our February poll.  However, his disapproval rating has dropped marginally from our last poll, 51% to 50%.

General Election

In general election matchups between President Trump and the top potential Democratic challengers, all such matchups fell within the margin of error –  except when Trump was matched up against Biden, where Biden beats Trump 55% to 45%. The national poll had a sample of n=1,153, +/-2.8%.

Howard Schultz once again appears to be weakening Democratic candidates hopes against President Trump. While Biden has a 10-point lead on Trump in head-to-head matchups, with 55% of the vote, he receives just 52% when Schultz is included as an option, shrinking Biden’s lead to 8 points. In a three-way matchup between O’Rourke, Trump, and Schultz, the latter pulls in 10% of the vote – leading to a Trump victory by plurality.

The Reagan Index

In the first and only Presidential Debate of the 1980 election, Ronald Reagan asked the audience four questions in his final statement: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago? Is it easier for you to go and buy things in the stores than it was four years ago? Is there more or less unemployment in the country than there was four years ago? Is America as respected throughout the world as it was?”

When asked these questions: 63% of respondents said there were better off today than they were four years ago, while 37% said they were not better off. Similarly, 61% of respondents said that it was easier for them to buy things from the store than it was 4 years ago, as compared to 39% of those who said it was not easier. When asked if there was more or less unemployment in the country, 70% said there was less unemployment  while only 30% said there was more.

However, 56% of respondents said that America was not as respected as it once was, as compared to 44% of respondents who says it now is more respected. These numbers suggest that a majority of Americans are happy with the current economic state of the U.S., a factor that may aid Trump in his reelection campaign. On the other hand, the majority of Americans do not approve of Trump’s foreign policy, a potential weak spot for the President headed into the 2020 election.

Trusting The News

Asked which news source they trust the most, the plurality of voters (35%) indicated none, followed by 25% who picked cable news, and 15% chose newspapers as their most trusted source. 18-29 year olds are the only group where “none” does not hold a plurality. 38% of this group choose social media as their most trusted source.

When voters were asked which television news source they trust the most, Fox News received a plurality of the vote, 37%, followed by CNN with 22% and MSNBC with 14%. CBS, NBC, and ABC all received 9%.

Transparency Initiative

General Results

Democratic Primary Results

Wisconsin 2020: Bernie Sanders Leads Democratic Field; Trump Competitive in General Election

The first Emerson College Wisconsin Poll of the Democratic primary finds Bernie Sanders holding a strong lead with 39% of the vote, followed by Joe Biden at 24%. In third place, Elizabeth Warren, the only other candidate in double digits, is at 14%. The poll was conducted March 15-17, n=324, +/- 5.4%.

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The Wall Street Journal: Please Howard, Don’t Hurt ‘Em; Are media pundits afraid Schultz will help re-elect Trump, or that the former Starbucks CEO will pull Democrats toward the center?

The Emerson poll also suggested that folks in the news business should definitely not relax. The school’s pollsters
When asked about the trustworthiness of different media sources, the slogan “as seen on tv” was proven effective
as voters ranked television as the most trusted source of information at 28%. Online publications and newspapers
each received 14%, radio received 10% and social media received 6%. However, 28% of voters said they do not trust
any news sources; a look inside these numbers reveal that 41% of Trump voters do not trust any news source
compared to 17% of Clinton voters.
A plurality of voters, 36%, ranked Fox News television as the most trustworthy news source followed by CNN at
19%, 14% each for NBC and MSNBC. ABC came in at 9% and CBS was at 8%.”

Full Article

Michigan 2020 Primary- Biden With Strong Lead, but Sanders Waiting in the Wings.

A new Emerson College poll finds unannounced candidate Joe Biden leading a Democratic field of 13 candidates with 40% of the vote in Michigan, followed by Bernie Sanders at 23%, Kamala Harris is at 12% and Elizabeth Warren at 11% round out the only four candidates in double figures (registered voters, March 7-10, mm, n=317, +/- 5.5%).

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South Carolina 2020 Poll: Biden leads Primary Field by Wide Margin; President Trump Popular with Base.

One year out from the South Carolina primary, former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders are the only two candidates to reach double digits in the Democratic Primary for President. Biden leads with 37% of the vote, followed by Sanders with 21%. Kamala Harris comes in third with 9%, Cory Booker has 6%, while Beto O’Rourke and Elizabeth Warren both receive 5%.  The poll was conducted February 28-March 2, 2019, n=291, +/-5.7%.

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