Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is the top choice among Democratic voters when “electability” is not considered, according to a new poll by the Democratic firm Avalanche.
The poll asked voters who they would vote for and then asked who they would back if they had “a magic wand and can make any of the candidates president—they don’t have to beat anyone or win the election.”
Nearly 30% of Democrats said they would back Joe Biden on the first question while 17% said Bernie Sanders and 16% said Warren.
Warren was first among Democrats on the second question, at 21%, while Biden and Sanders tied with 19%.
South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg received 13% on the first question and 16% on the “magic wand” question.
California Sen. Kamala Harris was at 12% on both questions.
Dems say Biden is “most electable”:
Despite Biden’s penchant for being handsy with women and girls, his questionable track record in the Senate, his praise of segregationist senators, and his assurance to rich donors that “nothing would fundamentally change” if he were elected, polls have consistently found that Democrats consider the former veep the most electable candidate in the race.
Biden scored a 7.7 (out of 10) on electability in a new Monmouth poll, while Sanders got a 6.5 and Warren got a 6.4.
59% of voters gave Biden an 8-10 score while only 32% gave Warren an 8-10 score.
Buttigieg averaged a 5.6 in the survey, Harris averaged a 6.0, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke received an average 5.3 score, and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker averaged 5.3.
Should Dems prioritize electability?
According to a Daily Beast/Ipsos poll, 82% of Democrats said their top priority is selecting a candidate who can beat Trump.
But experts say these expectations are not based on who can win but rather who has won, which means a tendency to consider older white men more electable since they seem to win most elections.
“Metrics like authenticity and likability and electability are just code that we use against candidates who are not like what we are used to,” Christina Reynolds, a spokesperson for Emily’s List, told Vox.
Hillary Clinton’s loss in 2016 could be another factor.
“A significant percentage — 20 percent — of Democratic and independent male voters don’t see women as effective in politics; this speaks to the challenges many of the 2020 candidates are facing,” wrote Vox’s Tara Golshan. “Voters have had only one example of a female nominee for a major political party, Hillary Clinton. And if the polling around gender, and electability has shown anything, Clinton’s loss clearly remains a factor for the women running now.”