2019年11月15日 星期五

On Politics Poll Watch: Same Leaders, New Drama

On the surface, the 2020 race looks pretty steady. But two more candidates are entering the fray.

Welcome to Poll Watch from On Politics. Every Friday, we’ll bring you the latest data and analysis to track the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Current state of the race

Arrows show recent changes in value or rank. See more detailed data here.

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Who’s up? Who’s down? Here’s the latest.

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By Alexander Burns

National Political Correspondent

There’s plenty of new drama in the presidential race (two new candidates!) but not in the polls. On the surface, the race looks pretty steady: Joe Biden continues to lead in national polls, followed by Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, with Pete Buttigieg in a clear but distant fourth place.

Ms. Warren may still be Mr. Biden’s most menacing challenger for the nomination, but she has given up the gains in September that for a time seemed to put her on track to overtake him in the race. Whatever support she lost, however, does not appear to have moved to Mr. Biden. Instead, it is Mr. Sanders and Mr. Buttigieg who have gained perceptibly over the last month, with Mr. Buttigieg leaping upward more dramatically in Iowa and New Hampshire.

With less than three months until the Iowa caucuses, the Democratic primary looks like a winnable race for the top four candidates — and perhaps for a few others if some lucky breaks materialize.

But the current trends in the Democratic race are about to be put to a strenuous test. Two more candidates are entering the fray: Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts, formally announced his bid on Thursday, and Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire media executive and former mayor of New York City, has filed paperwork in two states. That they are running at all reflects a sense among some Democrats that the race is entirely up for grabs, and that Mr. Biden’s support among moderate voters and African-Americans may not be permanent.

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It remains to be seen whether these late entrants will be able to make a dent in national polls or in key primary states. But Mr. Bloomberg, by his very presence in the race, could change the whole financial calculus of the campaign: He has the potential to drown out paid advertising from all the other candidates and choke off fund-raising for underdog Democrats who are already struggling to convince donors they are worth taking a risk on.

Only three of the existing candidates have proven they have built sustainable, powerful fund-raising machines: Mr. Sanders, Ms. Warren and Mr. Buttigieg. The question now for Mr. Biden is whether his electoral base will be strong enough, and his bloc of financial supporters enthusiastic enough, to overcome a newly concerted threat to his space in the race.

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With DACA in the balance, here’s what the public thinks

It increasingly looks like the Supreme Court’s conservative majority will allow the Trump administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, according to close observers of the court.

Legal arguments aside, polls show that DACA — which has shielded from deportation roughly 700,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children — enjoys overwhelming popular support. Allowing it to end would put the court out of step with trends in national public opinion, which has recently become more sympathetic to immigration than at any point in recorded history.

But the voters who pay the closest attention to immigration tend to be Republicans, and they hold much more conservative views on this issue. Just before the 2018 midterm elections, a Pew survey found that Republican voters were four times as likely as Democratic voters to say illegal immigration was a very big problem: 75 percent of Republicans said it was, compared to 19 percent of Democrats.

A changing political picture

The public’s views on immigration have gradually become more liberal over all in recent years, even as President Trump has made his opposition to immigration a central component of his political persona. In the past two years, three quarters of Gallup respondents have said that immigration is generally a good thing — more than ever before recorded.

DACA enjoys broader consensus than almost any other proposed immigration policy. A Marquette Law School poll found in September that 53 percent of voters nationwide would oppose a Supreme Court decision to strike down the program, while 37 percent would favor it. Before the case reached the Supreme Court, 84 percent of Americans said in a March 2018 Politico/Harvard University poll that they generally supported DACA.

All of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have expressed support for DACA. People who are sympathetic to the Dreamers — undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children — now make up a sizable chunk of the electorate in swing states like Arizona, Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania. And the Hispanic population is climbing especially quickly in some competitive Southern states; it roughly doubled from 2000 to 2010 in North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia.

Daniel Herrera, a communications consultant at the left-leaning Raben Group, said that if DACA ends, it could propel a youth mobilization campaign similar to the one that led to the program’s passage in the first place.

“That’s how you’re going to mobilize youth voters, because theoretically they’ll see themselves in those Dreamers and be more motivated to vote,” he said.

The partisan divide

But there is a deeper partisan rift on immigration than on almost any other issue. Eighty-two percent of Democrats in a September Pew poll said it was important for the government to build a path to citizenship for immigrants who are currently in the country illegally, but just 48 percent of Republicans did.

And immigration may be more of a motivating issue for the Republican base than the Democratic one. Forty-six percent of liberal Democrats rank building a path to citizenship as “very important,” but a larger share of conservative Republicans — fully six in 10 — say the opposite: that it is very important for the government to increase deportations of immigrants who have entered the United States illegally.

Still, Whit Ayres, a veteran Republican pollster, said that even many voters who support tough immigration policies often do not strongly favor ending DACA. “The first step is to distinguish between attitudes about DACA and attitudes about immigration overall: Consistently, Americans on the order of 80 percent have supported allowing the DACA kids to stay,” he said.

Correction: Nov. 15, 2019

This morning’s On Politics A.M. newsletter misidentified Julián Castro. He is a former housing secretary, not a senator.

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