BBC: Democratic debates- Ten candidates clash over healthcare and immigration

For now, Mr. Biden continues to hold a significant lead in the polls. Emerson and Quinnipac University polls released this week both reported Mr. Biden has over 30% of the vote, with other candidates at 20% or below.

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The Maddow Blog: Wednesday’s Campaign Round-Up, 7.31.19

In the latest national Emerson poll, released yesterday, former Vice President Joe Biden (D) leads his party’s 2020 field with 33%, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) at 20%. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is third with 14%, followed by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) with 11%.

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July National Poll: Biden extends support while Bernie Bounces Back

In Emerson’s latest poll, former Vice President Joe Biden continues to lead the Democratic Primary by a significant margin. Biden’s numbers increased slightly to 33% from the last Emerson national poll in which Biden received 30% of the vote. Sen. Bernie Sanders had the largest bounce of any candidate, increasing by 5 points to 20%, Sen. Elizabeth Warren dropped a point to 14% and Sen. Kamala Harris dropped 4 points to 11%. The only other candidates above 3% are Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 6% and former Congressman Beto O’Rourke at 4%. Data was collected July 27-29 of 520 Democratic primary voters, +/- 4.2% margin of error.

Sanders re-established his lead among 18-29 year olds receiving 36% support among that age group, in the earlier July poll Sanders was at 24% of the vote among 18-29 year olds. Warren follows him now with 17% of the youth vote, followed by Biden with 12% and Buttigieg with 10%. Among 30-49 year olds, Biden leads with 24%, followed by Sanders with 21%, Warren with 14% and Harris with 10%. Biden has a greater lead with those age 50-64 with 46% support, followed by Sanders with 15%, Warren with 14% and Harris with 13%. And then among those over the age of 65, Biden also leads with 51% support, followed by Harris with 11%, Warren with 10% and Sanders with 8%.

Among Democratic Primary voters that describe themselves as “Very Liberal”, Sanders leads with 30%, followed by Warren at 25%, Biden at 16% and Harris at 13%. Among those that describe themselves as “Somewhat Liberal”, Biden leads with 31%, followed by Sanders at 22%, Warren at 15% and Harris at 9%. And among voters who describe themselves as “Moderate” or “Conservative”, Biden leads with 45% support, followed by Sanders at 12%, Harris at 11% and Warren at 7%. 

Of respondents who voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic Primary, 47% support Biden, 15% support Warren, 14% support Harris and 10% support Sanders. Of those voted for Sanders in the 2016 Primary, 36% still support him, 19% support Biden, and 11% support Warren and Harris. 

President Trump’s job approval improved slightly from early this month and is now at 45% approval and 46% disapproval.  His support within the Republican party continues to be strong as Trump dominates a potential primary against former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld 91% to 8%. The Republican primary poll was n=467 with a +/-4.5%.

In potential head to head matchups, President Trump runs slightly closer to some of his potential Democratic opponents than in previous Emerson polls. Biden and Sanders each lead Trump by 2 points at 51% to 49%, Warren is tied at 50% with Trump, and Harris and Buttigieg both trail by 4 points, 48% to 52%. Spencer Kimball, Director of the Emerson Poll, notes how “this is the second poll where Biden has seen his general election support dip since the first debate. This may have more to do with the more liberal positions he took, but in the last 3 weeks his head to head matchups with Trump have tightened 8 points.”


When asked to choose the most important issue in determining their vote for president, immigration tops the list for voters at 24%, followed closely by the economy at 22%.  The issue of impeachment jumped from under 5% in the last two Emerson polls to the third most important issue, at 12%.

There is a party divide on this question, as among Republican primary voters, 40% chose immigration as the most important issue, followed by the economy at 31%, and gun control and social issues at 8%. Among Democratic primary voters, impeachment is the most important issue at 19%, followed by healthcare at 16%, and social issues and the economy at 13%. 

Among those who voted for Donald Trump in 2016, 41% say their most determining issue for their vote in 2020 is immigration, followed by the economy at 28%, whereas the plurality of Clinton voters say impeachment is the most important issue at 21%, followed by health care at 15%. Kimball notes “the Democrats are taking a gamble with an increased emphasis on impeachment proceedings following the Mueller hearings, considering how effective their Healthcare argument was in 2018. It would seem to make sense to stick with that issue, but now the party seems torn between the two.” 

July 30th National July 9th National  June 25th National
Economy 22% 26% 33%
Healthcare 10% 21% 21%
Immigration 24% 17% 12%
Impeachment 12% 4% 2%
Social Issues 10% 16% 11%

Voters appear less excited for the second set of Democratic debates coming up this week, with 57% of respondents planning on watching some or part of the debates compared to the 72% who planned to watch the June debates. 

The Democratic House leadership is struggling with favorability among voters; Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a 28% favorable opinion and a 46% unfavorable opinion. The House “squad,” consisting of Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Illan Omar and Ayanna Pressley share this image problem. Ocasio-Cortez is at 30% favorable and 47% unfavorable, Tlaib is at 26% favorable and 42% unfavorable, Omar is at 25% favorable and 46% unfavorable, and Pressley is at 24% favorable and 35% unfavorable. 

Among Democrats, Pelosi is at 51% favorable/18% unfavorable, Ocasio-Cortez is at 54% favorable/17% unfavorable, Omar is at 46% favorable/20% unfavorable, Tlaib is at 48% favorable/17% unfavorable and Pressley is at 44% favorable/14% unfavorable. 

Caller ID

The national Emerson College poll was conducted July 27-29, 2019 under the Supervision of Emerson Polling Director Assistant Professor Spencer Kimball. The sample consisted of registered voters, n=1,233, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 2.7 percentage points. The data was weighted by age, region, income, and education based on 2016 turnout modeling. 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=794) and an online panel provided by Amazon Turk (n=439).

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Transparency Initative

Allocating Undecided Voters in Pre-election Polling

Spencer Kimball, Esq, J.D., M.S., M.A.

Liudmila Yudina, M.A.

Research Assistant: Cole Mootz, Emerson College

Abstract: Is there a way to make pre-election polls more accurate? This paper seeks to test some of the most popular methods of allocating ‘undecided’ voters, based on the underlying theory that the allocation of undecided voters will improve the public’s expectations of election results and a pollster’s claims about accuracy. Polling literature states the most popular methods to incorporate undecided voters include asking a “leaner” question that follows a ballot test question or allocating the undecided proportionally to their vote preference. Both methods were used in this study, along with a third option in which an even-allocation, or essentially no allocation of undecided voters, took place. The study incorporates n=54 pre-election polls conducted in 20 different states, between October 26 and November 4, 2018, which were used to compare the three allocation methods. This includes an Absolute Error test (deviation between poll results and election results, Mosteller et al., 1949), a Statistical Accuracy test (absolute error compared with the poll’s margin of error, Kimball, 2017), and a Predictive Accuracy test (did the poll predict the actual election winner?). The study found no significant difference between the accuracy of the polls that included an allocation of undecided voters as compared to those that did not (χ2(2, N=161)=.200, p =.905), suggesting that allocating undecided voters does not detract from, nor add to the reliability and validity of a pre-election poll.

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The Hill: Poll: Biden leads 2020 Democratic pack by 15 points, Warren, Harris, Sanders tie for second

“A new survey from Emerson Polling found that Biden had the support of 30 percent of respondents, beating out Sens. Kamala Harris(D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren(D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders(I-Vt.) who all tied for second place with support from 15 percent of those polled. Since the last poll released in June, overall support for Biden had dropped from 34 percent, but he extended his lead over Sanders, whose support fell from 27 percent last month.”

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Washington Post: Where the Democratic primary race stands after the first debate

“The Post-ABC News poll(29 percent), the Emerson poll(30 percent ) and the Morning Consult poll (31 percent) all show former vice president Joe Biden dropping a significant amount yet still in first place. In early states, Biden lost 12 points compared with 7 points overall in the Morning Consult survey.”

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July National Poll: Biden extends lead in Democratic Primary, Trump Closes the Gap in the General Election.

The first Democratic debate has shaken up the race for the Democratic nomination. Compared to June’s national poll, former VP Joe Biden extended his lead, Sen. Bernie Sanders lost ground, Sen. Kamala Harris doubled her support, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren held steady. Despite Biden losing 4 points of his support from 34% to 30%, he extended his lead in the Democratic primary from 7 points in June to 15 points, as his main rival, Sanders dropped 12 points to 15% from his June number of 27%. Harris saw her numbers improve 8 points to 15%, and Warren ticked up one point from June to 15% of the vote, creating a three way tie for second.  The data was collected July 6-8 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.4%.

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