Reuters/Ipsos Core Political Survey: 2020 Democratic Primary Tracker (08/07/2019)

Following the Democratic primary debates last week, Joe Biden maintains his lead in the primary, with Bernie Sanders coming in second.

The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Annaleise Azevedo Lohr Senior Account Manager, US, Public Affairs
  • Emily Chen Research Analyst, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, D.C., August 7, 2019 - In the latest Reuters/Ipsos Core Political Survey, we examine how Americans perceived the Democratic presidential candidates following the Democratic primary debates. The data was collected after the Democratic debates last week, but all principal interviewing took place before the tragic shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. Former Vice President Joe Biden maintains his lead for the nomination, garnering 28 percent of the vote share among Democratic registered voters. This number is unchanged from last month. Senator Bernie Sanders also maintains his position in second place (23%), up 5-points from last month, and 7-points from June 2019. Senator Elizabeth Warren receives 12 percent of the vote share, nearly unchanged from last month (13%), and Senator Kamala Harris (7%), and Pete Buttigieg (5%) round out of the top 5 candidates. All other candidates receive 3 percent or less of the vote share.  

Americans are most familiar with the front runners of the campaign: Joe Biden (79%), Bernie Sanders (77%), Elizabeth Warren (59%), Kamala Harris (50%), and Pete Buttigieg (34%). Democratic registered voters are most familiar with the same candidates, though familiarity is higher all around (90% for Biden, 88% for Sanders, 71% for Warren, 64% for Harris, and 52% for Booker). Half of Democratic registered voters are also familiar with Beto O’Rourke (50%) and Pete Buttigieg (46%).

In terms of favorability, a majority of Americans are favorable toward the more well-known candidates - Biden (58%), Sanders (54%), Warren (52%), Harris (49%), O’Rourke (49%), and Booker (49%) – but also with two of the lesser known candidates Andrew Yang (52%) and Buttigieg (50%). For Democratic registered voters, Biden (82%) and Sanders (82%) are tied at the top for favorability, with Warren (80%) in a close second. Buttigieg (72%), Harris (71%), O’Rourke (71%), and Booker (71%) are the next most favored candidates among Democratic registered voters, though again, Yang (69%) is highly favored among the lesser known candidate pool.

Among all Americans, favorability toward the Democratic front runners (Biden, Warren, Sanders, and Buttigieg) has increased for the first time since May 2019, though only slightly (+2-3 percentage points for each). Among Democratic registered voters, favorability towards front runners Biden, Sanders, and Warren remains statistically unchanged from last month, while Harris’ favorability has declined from 83% last month, to 72% this month.

Only a third of Americans (31%) and registered voters (33%) believe the country is headed in the right direction, with double the amount of Republican registered voters (64%) who say the same. On the other hand, Democratic voters are overwhelmingly pessimistic toward the path of the country, with just 1 in 10 who say it is headed in the right direction.

Trump’s approval ratings remain largely unchanged from previous months, with just 41% of Americans and 43% of registered voters who approve of his job as president. Democratic registered voters and Republican registered voters lie on opposite sides of the spectrum, with 9% and 86% who approve of Trump‘s job, respectively. Independent registered voters (31%) lie in the middle, though less than the national average.

For Americans, the most important problem currently facing the U.S. is immigration (20%), followed by healthcare (18%), and the economy (10%). While this is largely the same for registered voters (22% for immigration, 19% for healthcare, and 9% for the economy), Democratic and Republican registered voters disagree significantly on what is at the top of the list. The former believe healthcare (25%) is the greatest concern, while the latter believe it is immigration (41%). Independent registered voters largely fall in line with Democratic registered voters in believing that healthcare (24%) is at the top.

About this Study

These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted for Thomson Reuters between August 1-5, 2019. For the survey, a sample of 2,129 Americans, including 1,795 registered voters, 807 Democrat registered voters, 772 Republican registered voters, and 140 Independent registered voters ages 18+ were interviewed online. The precision of the Reuters/Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points for all adults, 2.6 percentage points for registered voters, 3.9 percentage points for Democratic registered voters, 4.0 percentage points for Republican registered voters, and 9.4 percentage points for Independent registered voters. For more information about credibility intervals, please see the appendix.

The data were weighted to the U.S. current population data by gender, age, education, and ethnicity. Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Figures marked by an asterisk (*) indicate a percentage value of greater than zero but less than one half of one per cent. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. To see more information on this and other Reuters/Ipsos polls, please visit

For more information on this news release please contact:

Clifford Young
President, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs

Chris Jackson
Vice President, U.S.
Ipsos Public Affairs

About Ipsos

Ipsos is a global independent market research company. Our team of 18,000 across 90 countries serves 5,000 clients and undertakes 70,000 different projects each year. Our polling practice is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.

As a global research and insights organization, Ipsos aims to make our changing world easier and faster to navigate and to inspire our clients to make smarter decisions. We are committed to driving the industry with innovative, best-in-class research techniques that are meaningful in today’s connected society. We deliver research with security, speed, simplicity, and substance. Our tagline “Game Changers” summarizes our ambition.

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The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Annaleise Azevedo Lohr Senior Account Manager, US, Public Affairs
  • Emily Chen Research Analyst, US, Public Affairs