A Different Direction: Informal Polling

After putting together a brief survey of the initial candidates looking to win the Democratic nomination, I thought it’d be interesting to run a handful of Twitter polls to gauge how interested folks were in the various candidates for the Democratic nomination. 

 

Like my previous essay, this is meant more as a personal exercise to keep oneself abreast of the political landscape. And while it is far too early in the process (some would say too early to even entertain), I believe it’s valuable to appraise and re-appraise one’s thoughts and feelings.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts about what candidate or candidates you are most interested in supporting. Please feel free to comment below!

It was a fairly simple process, I tried to use the candidates who had been making their presence known. The question never changed:

“If the Democrat nomination were held today, who would you vote for?”

If a candidate someone wanted to vote for wasn’t listed, I encouraged folks to reply with their name (some folk mentioned Andrew Yang but not enough to warrant his inclusion). The plan was to take the top two from each poll for the final.

Of course, a slew of people decided they’d be clever and comment with some form of ‘They’re all bad’ or ‘I wouldn’t vote for any.’ My reply to these people was to either offer up who they would vote for or to just not vote. I wasn’t interested in getting into some ridiculous Tweet-battle with conservative bots or MAGA bigots. Implied in the question was the assumption you would be voting in the Democratic primary so then if you wouldn’t be, I wasn’t interested in your ‘hot take.’

 

First Week

In my first seven day poll, the choices were Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Cory Booker. I thought this was a really practical list and found myself really liking the candidate choices. The breakdown went 44% for Harris, 35% for Warren, 12% for Booker, and 8% for Gillibrand. I was disappointed in seeing Gillibrand get such a low total, but it happens. However, I think she’s still my personal favorite. These results meant Harris and Warren advanced.

 

Second Week

With the second week-long poll, Warren and Harris squared off with Amy Klobuchar and Julian Castro. I hadn’t been able to include Castro last time due to fact Twitter polls only allow for 4 choices. Klobuchar had been rumored to be entering the race but this week made the formal announcement so she was included. This time around the numbers were closer with Harris again winning but with 35%, Warren garnering 30%, Klobuchar with 23%, and Castro pulling in 12%. I thought given the roll out of her campaign and the fact many of my followers are Minnesotan (due to my years writing about and supporting soccer there), Klobuchar would show better.

 

Third Week

The third and final poll of the month brought in Bernie Sanders, who had just formally announced, to stand among Harris and Warren. Originally, I had planned on running a straight-up two candidate poll between Harris and Warren. However, Sanders would’ve been the old, loud elephant in the room so I made the poll to include him. This one had the most votes and for the longest time was practically even with each holding down a third. At week’s end, Harris had again come away victorious with 42%, just a hair higher than Sanders’ 40%, and Warren ended with 18%. Coincidentally or not, this was also the poll where I had the most user interaction with a good amount of conservative trolls coming out to voice their ‘thoughts.’ I was surprised by that and the lack of Bernie Bro bots.

 

Conclusions

Now, granted, the number of voters in these polls was low. But what interests me is how the tallies seemed to stay consistent.

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Harris is clearly the front-runner among my followers at least. It would be speculation to say from what other candidates she picked up votes. I would imagine in the first round Gillibrand’s votes were split, and Booker’s were mostly taken up by Harris. In the second poll, I suspect Klobuchar siphoned off votes that may have gone to Warren. Yet, the inclusion of Castro probably took more away from Klobuchar; if he hadn’t been in the mix, I think Klobuchar would’ve surpassed Warren.

With Sanders formally announcing his run, a wrench was thrown into my plans. I had to include him. However, it was fascinating to see the numbers fluctuate. Clearly, more people were voting in this poll because Sanders was in it. However, they weren’t necessarily voting for Sanders.

It was almost as though he was acting as a spoiler for Elizabeth Warren and a catalyst for support of Kamala Harris. Quite honestly, this feels right. Sanders is going to make waves but none of his positions are outsider ones any longer and there are multiple candidates pushing an agenda as progressive but more practical than his. Also, every other candidate is less theatrical and abrasive than Sanders. Is there a place for him in the Democratic Party’s nomination? Ought there be given he’s not a Democrat?

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What will be interesting is to see how the landscape changes if/when Joe Biden or Beto O’Rourke join the fray. I think they’ll experience the same success and challenges facing Sanders.

Overall, I like the process favoring Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. In my opinion, they are currently the two strongest and most practical candidates. However, I still feel more drawn to Gillibrand and Castro, but that’s clearly a minority position. Just like Andrew Yang’s advocacy of the Universal Basic Income, an issue that ought to be front-and-center in the 2020 debate.

 

 

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