A new Morning Consult poll shows that familiar faces are topping the Democratic presidential field.
The poll sampled voters in two ways — nationwide and in early primary states: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.
Although the numbers fluctuate slightly, former Vice President Joe Biden is the leading choice in both populations, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who fielded a strong challenge for eventual Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Biden and Sanders were the only two Democrats to place in double digits. Biden, who has yet to formally declare his candidacy, was supported by 38 percent of voters in early states, 35 percent nationwide. Sanders, who announced his campaign on Feb. 19, received the support of 27 percent of early state voters and 25 percent nationally.
Sen. Kamala Harris of California placed third among early state voters at 8 percent, followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke of Texas at 7 percent.
Those numbers change slightly in the national sample, with O’Rourke moving up to tie Harris at 8 percent while Warren remained at 7 percent.
Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey came next at 4 percent among early-state voters, the same level of support he received in the national survey.
Early state voters gave scattered support at the 1 percent level to a wide range of candidates.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota were all at 1 percent, according to early state voters.
Among early state voters, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and former Virginia Gov, Terry McAuliffe checked in at 0 percent support.
In the national survey, Buttigieg and Klobuchar each polled 2 percent support and Gabbard received 1 percent support.
The poll also asked respondents whether they had heard of the candidates.
Among candidates who polled at levels higher than 1 percent support, 24 percent said they had never heard of Booker, 23 percent of O’Rourke, 21 percent of Harris and 13 percent of Warren. In contrast, all respondents had heard of Biden and Sanders.
The overall results are similar to a recent Fox News poll that showed Biden leading the field at 31 percent with Sanders second at 23 percent and everyone else at 8 percent or less.
“Democratic primary voters would welcome Biden into the field, should he run,” Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who helped conduct the Fox News Poll, told Fox News.
“They prioritize beating Trump, and, as of now, Biden fares best of the more widely known Democratic candidates against Trump.”
Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who helped conduct the survey, told Fox the results were more a reflection of antipathy to the Trump administration than true support for the former vice president.
“There is ambivalence at this early stage of the nomination process,” Shaw said.
“Democrats want Trump out any way possible, but they also have a set of public policy preferences that would have been considered way outside of the mainstream even 10 years ago.
“This has major implications for all candidates and especially for Biden. Democrats like him, they want him to run, and are likely to be impressed (that) Biden currently runs well against Trump, but do they think winning the White House depends on him? If not, the rationale for his candidacy is unclear.”
The poll also samples opinion roughly 10 months before the first primaries and more than a year and a half before the election, and recent history shows that much can change.
As of March 2015, as the hurly-burly of the 2016 Republican president primary process was getting under way, a Quinnipiac Poll found that the top Republican at that time was former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
Second place went for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
That poll also found that 51 percent of voters surveyed said they would not vote for eventual GOP nominee President Donald Trump, who had not yet formally declared his candidacy.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.