Warren Leads Democratic Field, Also Preferred Second Choice for Sanders and Biden Voters

GW Poll Finds Warren, Sanders, Biden Ahead of the Pack Entering Fourth Debate; Survey Also Shows Support for Most Gun Control Measures

October 15, 2019

Jason Shevrin: [email protected], 202-994-5631
Timothy Pierce: [email protected], 202-994-5647
WASHINGTON (Oct. 15, 2019)—Sen. Elizabeth Warren leads the Democratic presidential field and is well positioned to pick up more support as other candidates drop out, according to a new edition of the George Washington University Politics Poll. The poll asked Democratic and Democratic-leaning independent voters for their first choices in the Democratic primary field. Ms. Warren was the first choice for 27.8% of those voters. Sen. Bernie Sanders was second, with 21%, and former Vice President Joe Biden was third with 18.4%. No other candidate was chosen by more than 5% of the group.
Ms. Warren is making inroads with other candidates’ supporters too. The same group of Democratic and leaning voters were asked for their second choice, should their main pick drop out. Ms. Warren was the second choice of 34% of Democratic and leaning voters who support another candidate. Of Mr. Biden’s supporters, 45.1% chose Ms. Warren second. Of Mr. Sanders’, 31.2% chose her. 
“The numbers don’t look as good for Sanders and Biden,” poll co-director Danny Hayes said in a Washington Post analysis. “Sanders is the second choice of just 21% [of all Democratic and leaning voters], and Biden is the second choice of 17%.”
Dr. Hayes, an associate professor of political science at GW, also pointed out that, “Among supporters of the many candidates polling below 5%, 20% have Biden as their second choice and 18% have Warren.”
The poll also includes data on 26 political figures’ favorability and voters’ preferences toward political compromise.
GW fielded the poll after the initial revelations about President Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but before Mr. Sanders’ heart attack. 
Most Gun Control Measures Are Popular; Banning Handgun Sales is Not
The GW poll also asked voters (of both parties) whether they support various gun control proposals. Of 10 possible changes, eight had support from more than half of those polled. The most popular proposals were preventing people with a history of mental illness from owning guns (82% supported), requiring a five-day waiting period for purchase (72.5% supported) and raising the minimum age for buying any type of gun or ammunition to 21 (68.2% supported). 
The only two ideas without majority support were preventing people from carrying a concealed weapon (44.5% support, 44.9% oppose) and banning the sale of all handguns except those issued to law enforcement (30.5% support, 62.3% oppose). While majorities supported a number of changes to gun laws, the public was quite skeptical that change will occur. Only 33% of respondents thought changes in gun policy were very or somewhat likely. 
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The complete poll also included opinions on impeachment, immigration, health care, trade and climate as well as women’s representation in political office. The poll website includes a tool to create crosstabs of any two questions included in the GW Politics Poll. 
For additional data and analysis, visit the GW Politics Poll website. For interviews with the professors leading the poll, contact GW’s press office.
About the GW Politics Poll
The GW Politics Poll is managed jointly by GW's School of Media and Public Affairs, Graduate School of Political Management and Department of Political Science. YouGov, a respected leader in online polling, conducted the academic, nonpartisan research poll for GW. This poll was fielded Sept. 26-30, 2019, with a sample of 1,200 registered voters and a margin of error of ±3 percentage points. 
The GW Politics Poll continues the strong tradition of public opinion research at GW, which includes the GW Battleground Poll, a nationally recognized series of surveys conducted by Republican pollster Ed Goeas of The Tarrance Group and Democratic pollster Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners. The final edition of the GW Battleground Poll was released in March 2018.