New poll shows Biden, Sanders leading Democratic pack in Michigan ahead of 2020 election

Democrats lead on generic 2020 ballot in Michigan

A new poll offers insight into what Michigan voters are feeling heading into the 2020 election cycle.

A WDIV/Detroit News poll shows at least five major Democratic presidential candidates with leads over President Trump heading into 2020. Here's a look at the results:

2020 election preview, Democrats vs. Trump in Michigan

Trump re-election

Voters were asked if they would vote to re-elect President Trump or vote for someone else. 51.2 percent of voters would vote to elect someone new with 44.2 percent of voters DEFINITELY VOTING FOR SOMEONE NEW.  

35.7 percent of voters would vote to re-elect President Trump with 27.0 percent DEFINITELY VOTING TO RE-ELECT PRESIDENT TRUMP.

  • Voters that would re-elect President Trump have increased by 5.1 percent from January 2019. Those that would vote for someone new has remained statistically unchanged since January 2019.
  • Among Independent voters, 23.9 percent would vote to re-elect President Trump while 50.3 percent of Independent voters would elect someone new.
    • Only 13.3 percent of Independents would definitely vote to re-elect the President while 34.4 percent would definitely vote to replace him.

Democrats lead by 8.8 points on generic ballot test

Voters were asked if the election was held today would they vote for the Democratic or the Republican candidate for State House.  

By a margin of 43.5 percent-34.7 percent, voters said they would vote for the Democratic candidate – an 8.8 percent-point lead for the generic Democratic candidate.  

This figure remains consistent with the Democratic margin heading into the 2018 elections.   

Biden leads Democratic candidates in Michigan

Among the top five Democratic contenders polling nationally above 5 percent, Joe Biden is the only candidate with favorable name identification breaking 46.0 percent favorable to 37.2 percent unfavorable. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg rounded out the top five candidates.

While all five candidates have low unfavorable ratings among Strong Democratic voters, Joe Biden has 80 percent approval with the lowest unfavorable ratings among the five candidates.   

  • Only Joe Biden has name identification breaking favorably among Independent voters.   Elizabeth Warren, in particular, appears to have a favorability problem with Independent voters.

All five of the potential Democratic nominees tested currently lead the President. President Trump falls in a very narrow two-point range against all five candidates from 41.3 percent to 43.5 percent.  

Of particular note is that less than 5 percent of voters remain undecided in matchups with Sanders or Biden whose name identification have already ‘topped out’ at near 100 percent.

  • The overall difference in the margins among the five candidates is that Biden and Sanders are each doing better among male voters than Harris, Warren and Buttigieg.   
  • Sanders and Biden are equally strongly among Independent voters. Buttigieg and Warren are statistically even among Independent voters. Harris trails Trump among Independent voters by eight points.   

Biden vs. Sanders

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders both lead Donald Trump by 12.1 percent -- statistically unchanged from January 2019.  But the two candidates get to the same numbers in slightly different, but important, ways.

Biden has a 24.7 percent lead among women while Sanders has a 21.4 percent lead among women. Biden runs better than Sanders among women with a high school degree and women with a college degree.

Among college educated white women, Biden leads Trump 52.3 percent-39.7 percent -- a lead of 12.6 percent. Sanders leads among college educated white women 49.2 percent-42.1 percent -- a lead of 7.1 percent.

While Biden loses to Trump among men by 2.8 percent, Sanders leads among men by 2.4 percent. Sanders does better than Biden among men without a college degree. Biden does better with men with a college degree.

Amash factor

In a hypothetical three-way race, respondents were asked who they would support between Donald Trump, Joe Biden and Justin Amash as the hypothetical Libertarian candidate.  In this matchup, Biden leads by 6.7 percent -- down from a lead of 12.1 percent.   

Poll methodology:

The Glengariff Group, Inc. conducted a Michigan statewide survey of November 2020 likely general election voters. The 600 sample, live operator telephone survey was conducted on May 28-30, 2019 and has a margin of error of +/-4.0 percent with a 95 percent level of confidence. 65.0 percent of respondents were contacted via landline telephone. 35.0 percent of respondents were contacted via cell phone telephone. This survey was commissioned by the Glengariff Group, Inc. as part of our public polling program and provided to WDIV Local 4 and the Detroit News.   

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