538/Ipsos Poll: March 15 Democratic Debate

Report from Ipsos/FiveThirtyEight Pre and Post-Eleventh Democratic Debate Poll

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC - In the latest FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos Democratic Debate poll, of those who watched some or all of the debates, more thought Joe Biden performed the best by a 2-1 margin (61% to 28%). Additionally, 43% of debate watchers rated Biden's performance as very good while only 29% rated Sanders's performance as very good. This suggests the eleventh Democratic debate is unlikely to significantly alter the trajectory of the rest of the Democratic Primary. 


This 538 Debate/Ipsos Poll was conducted March 9th to March 13th, 2020 using Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally-representative probability sample of adults age 18 or older. Questions presented in this document were only asked of those who are likely to vote in the Democratic primary or caucus (n=2,601).

This 538 Post-Debate/Ipsos poll was conducted March 15th to 16th, 2020 using Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel® - a division of Ipsos. Wave 1 of this poll was based on a nationally-representative probability sample of adults age 18 or older. Wave 2, what this topline reports, was administered to those who indicated in Wave 1 that they are likely to vote in their state's upcoming Democratic primary or caucus (n=1,375). 

The survey was conducted using KnowledgePanel, the largest and most well-established online probability-based panel that is representative of the adult US population. Our recruitment process employs a scientifically developed addressed-based sampling methodology using the latest Delivery Sequence File of the USPS – a database with full coverage of all delivery points in the US. Households are randomly sampled and all persons in the selected households are invited to join and participate in the panel. Ipsos provides selected households that do not already have internet access with a tablet and internet connection at no cost to the panel member. Those who join the panel and who are selected to participate in a survey are sent a unique password-protected log-in used to complete surveys online. As a result of our recruitment and sampling methods, samples from KnowledgePanel cover all households regardless of their phone or internet status and findings can be reported with a margin of sampling error and projected to the general population.

The study was conducted in both English and Spanish. The data were weighted to adjust for gender by age, race, education, Census region, metropolitan status, and household income. The demographic benchmarks came from the 2019 March supplement of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS).  The weighting categories were as follows:

  • Gender (Male/Female) by Age (18–29, 30–44, 45–59, and 60+)
  • Race/Hispanic Ethnicity (White/Non-Hispanic, Black/Non-Hispanic, Other or 2+ Races/Non-Hispanic, Hispanic)
  • Education (Less than High School, High School graduate, Some College, Bachelor and beyond)
  • Census Region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West)
  • Metropolitan status (Metro, non-Metro)
  • Household Income (Under $25,000, $25,000-$49,999, $50,000-$74,999, $75,000-$99,999, $100,000-$149,999, $150,000+)

The margin of sampling error among those likely to vote in the Democratic primary or caucus is plus or minus 2.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. The margin of sampling error takes into account the design effect, which was 1.18. The margin of sampling error is higher and varies for results based on sub-samples. In our reporting of the findings, percentage points are rounded off to the nearest whole number. As a result, percentages in a given table column may total slightly higher or lower than 100%. In questions that permit multiple responses, columns may total substantially more than 100%, depending on the number of different responses offered by each respondent.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Chris Jackson
Vice President, US
Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2025
[email protected]


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The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs