First let me encourage you not to attach much importance to the poll results I’m about to pass along. It might be hard, but try.
Morning Consult/Politico ran trial heats on whom voters would prefer if the next presidential election were held today (actually, last week), testing various possible Democratic candidates against the current incumbent.
Here’s how it came out:
Former Sen. and Vice President Joe Biden beats Donald Trump: 43-31 with 22 percent “don’t know.”
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders beats Donald Trump 44-32 with 24 percent “don’t know.”
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren beats Trump 34-30 with 36 don’t know.
Trump beats New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker 29-27 with 44 don’t know.
Trump beats California Sen. Kamala Harris 29-26 with 45 don’t know.
Trump also beats New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo; New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; former Attorney General Eric Holder; Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti; Montana Gov. Steve Bullock; and U.S. Rep. John Delaney. But in every case, Trump gets between 28 and 30 percent as the “don’t know” rises higher and higher.
Obviously, there is nothing remotely bankable about any of these numbers. The election will not be held tomorrow; it will be held more than two years from tomorrow. Obviously, the steady rise in the “don’t know” quotient reflects that many respondents know little or nothing about the last few Democrats tested.
What is impressive is that, in all 11 hypothetical matchups, Trump scores between 27 and 31 percent. That is lower than the 42-43 percent who have said, over recent months, that they approve of Trump’s performance as president. The 27-31 percent who said they would vote for him against all of the potential Democratic nominees mentioned by Morning Consult might be called the core of his base, the ones who will stick with him pretty much whomever he runs against and perhaps whatever he does and almost whatever (fake) news comes out about him.
The fact that he loses trial heat matchups, and by a fairly large margin, against his better-known potential rivals, combined with the fact that his numbers remain below 30 against all of the lesser-known potential Dem nominees might be called worrisome, or worse than worrisome, to his admirers.
So much will happen between now and 2020 – including the obviously much more imminent midterms that are now less than three months off – that, I repeat, it would be silly to attach too much importance to these matchups. But I thought you might want to see them.
The numbers are displayed graphically at Morning Consult’s site, here.