Michelle Obama came in first place in a new poll of 2020 Democratic Party presidential candidates. She was tied with Joe Biden.
— The Hill (@thehill) February 20, 2019
The former first lady and the former vice president both have high name recognition and are well thought of among Democrats. The fact that they are on top of a poll together shows the nostalgia many in their party feel for the halcyon days of the presidency of Barack Obama.
The Hill-HarrisX poll found that 25 percent of likely Democratic primary voters said they would back Michelle Obama in the party’s primaries which start a year from now if she were to run. Another 25 percent favored Joe Biden as their top choice to be the party’s nominee next year.
The poll shows Obama and Biden beating out nine other declared or potential candidates for president in 2020.
Michelle Obama of course has said she is not running, and the likelihood of her doing so seems very remote at best.
Biden also has not made any announcement about whether or not he will launch another bid for the White House. He has been traveling the country in recent months attending fundraisers and giving speeches. These are activities usually associated with politicians who are laying the groundwork for a presidential run.
Among announce candidates, Senator Harris came in first, with 12% of Democrats saying they would support her candidacy next year. This is not surprising since she got her campaign off to a great start when it was announced several weeks ago.
Just behind Harris was Senator Sanders (11%) who just formally announced yesterday that he is running. As happened when he ran in 2016, Sanders will be a formidable force in the 2020 primaries. He attracts a passionate following and many of his previous supporters urged him to run again. He also has a powerful email list that took years to build, and he has shown he can use it to raise massive amounts of money to support his candidacy.
In fourth place in the poll was O’Rourke with support from 6% of Democrats. He was followed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Senator Warren, each of whom got 5% of the vote.
Results changed slightly when the poll considered independent voters, who are allowed to vote in many state primary elections. In that poll Biden and Obama garnered 23 percent and 22 percent, respectively.
Sanders received 12 percent, followed by 8 percent for Harris. This shows that Sanders is popular among non-Democratic voters and does well in open primaries where it is not necessary to be a registered Democrat to vote.
Molly Murphy, a partner at Democratic consulting firm ALG Research, said Obama’s popularity is helped in large part because she has never thrown her hat into the ring.
“Because she’s never been a candidate, she’s never been on the ballot, she’s avoided a certain degree of scrutiny that candidates face. And so she’s all icing for people, it’s all good,” Murphy said on “What America’s Thinking” on Hill.TV.