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Who Will the 2020 Democratic Nominee Be?

Updated on October 13, 2019

Elizabeth Warren #1 - October 13, 2019

By Lorie Shaull from St Paul, United States - Senator Elizabeth Warren speaking at the Heartland Forum in Storm Lake, Iowa, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=77708389
By Lorie Shaull from St Paul, United States - Senator Elizabeth Warren speaking at the Heartland Forum in Storm Lake, Iowa, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=77708389 | Source

Background - Updated October 13, 2019

This article tracks the rank order of the most likely Democratic candidates to be nominated for President of the United States in the 2020 election. Only candidates who have qualified for the October 2019 debate are considered. The aggregate national projection combines the median of the nine most recent national polls from different companies. and non-polling data (expert opinion, social media presence, traditional media presence, activist momentum, endorsements, and funding). For the overall rank, 50% weight is assigned to the rank based on polling data and 50% weight is assigned to the rank based on non-polling data. Ties in average rank between polling and non-polling categories are broken in favor of the candidate with the higher median polling number.

Separate articles cover the June 2019, July 2019, September 2019 and October 2019 debates as well as the first four primaries/caucuses, and Super Tuesday elections.


Joe Biden #2 - October 13, 2019

Source

Snapshot of National and Early State Races - Updated October 13, 2019

Nationally, based on the composite of the median of the most recent nine polls and non-polling data, Warren has moved into 1st place for the first time since this data tracking project began in late November 2018. However, the gap between Warren and Biden is only 1 point on the median polling factor, and could well change given the next poll. It should be noted that there have not been any polls released on October 12 or October 13, so unless there is a poll later today (October 13), we will need to wait until Monday or Tuesday and see if the next set of polls changes the order at the top.

In addition, Biden has a positive polling momentum and Warren negative, adding weight to the possibility that Biden could retake 1st in the near future. Polling across companies has been quite inconsistent with some pollsters finding Biden substantially ahead, some saying Warren is ahead and others saying it is much closer. So on the median, we have a very close race. However the non-polling factor shows Warren far in the lead.

Sanders position in 3rd is rather tenuous as both his polling and non-polling numbers have decreased. His recent medical issue combined with the campaign waiting three days to announce the heart attack, added to what appears to be a flip-flop on whether he will decrease campaign activities is apparently not helping confidence that he will be the eventual nominee.

Buttigieg is giving Sanders competition based on the composite. Harris has shown no signs of moving up from 5th place and Yang appears solid in 6th. Booker and O'Rourke have been swapping 7th and 8th place. Notably, at this point, Booker has qualified for the November debate and O'Rourke has not, which could be the end of his campaign. O'Rourke is now getting clobbered on the non-polling factor. The order of candidates 9th through 12th has changed due to volatility in the non-polling factor at the bottom of this list. Now we have Klobuchar moving up from 11th to 9th, with Gabbard and Steyer falling a position. The news on Gabbard has been all over the place but in the last two days, not good. In that group, only Steyer has qualified for the November debate. Like with O'Rourke, this author notes that Gabbard, Klobuchar and Castro could see any chance they may have had also disappearing if they do not qualify for the November debate.

In terms of the early state analysis, Warren is very competitive with Biden in all but South Carolina. Biden appears to recognize that his best chance will be South Carolina and the southern states on Super-Tuesday, including Texas. The best state for Sanders in the first four appears to be Nevada, not New Hampshire. However, Sanders's campaign seems to be laying down the gauntlet in New Hampshire. where he currently stands in 3rd place behind Biden and Warren. Sanders appears quite competitive in California but not Texas. Harris is mobilizing in Iowa saying she needs a 3rd place finish there. She is far back there in 5th place in polling and needs to get past both Buttigieg and Sanders to get to 3rd. No other candidates, with the exception of O'Rourke in Texas, is making any serious noise in these early states.

Bernie Sanders #3 - October 13, 2019

By Nick Solari, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42909114
By Nick Solari, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42909114 | Source

Recent Polling - Updated October 13, 2019

(click column header to sort results)
Candidate  
Median Poll  
Polling Rank Order  
Polling Momentum  
Warren
27
1
-.11
Biden
26
2
+.18
Sanders
15
3
-.25
Buttigieg
5
4.5
-.09
Harris
5
4.5
+.03
Yang
3
6
+.11
O'Rourke
2
7.5
+.04
Booker
2
7.5
.01
Klobuchar
1
10.5
+.05
Gabbard
1
10.5
-.01
Castro
1
10.5
-.04
Steyer
1
10.5
+.08
The median is based on the following nine national polls: Harris (10-11), Fox (10-8), You Gov (10-8), Quinnipiac (10-7), Morning Consult (10-6), You Gov DP (10-4), IBD/TIPP (10-3), Ipsos/Reuters (9-30) and Monmouth (9-29).

Analysis of Recent Polls - Updated October 13, 2019

Over the last two months, Warren has moved considerably closer to Biden, and that gap has now vanished. Warren now leads Biden by one point. Warren's lead over Sanders has increased to 8 points. Harris has lost 2/3 of her support and O'Rourke 1/2 of of his support.

A column has been added, Polling Momentum Indicator. This statistic assesses the difference between the median of the last three polls vs. the median of the former six polls. That number is normalized such that total momentum across all candidates, balancing the positives and negatives, is zero. The range can theoretically vary from 1.00 to -1.00. However, with 12 candidates in the race, any number in double digits is quite meaningful. Currently, the polling momentum indicator, is strongest for Biden at +.18. The question will be whether Biden can maintain the momentum and retake 1st place or whether his momentum drops and the advantage that Warren has stays around for a while. Among these 12 candidates, Biden has 18% of all of the polling momentum, and in his case, the momentum is positive. Sanders has the weakest polling momentum at -.25. That means that Sanders' polling accounts for 25% of all candidate's momentum, and that his particular momentum is in a downward direction.

The question was whether there was a top three tier, and this author said yes (Biden, Warren and Sanders). Now the question is whether there is a top two tier and this author says yes (Biden and Warren or Warren and Biden). Sanders really has fallen out of that top tier.

Rank Orders - Updated October 13, 2019

´╗┐Candidate
Overall Rank
Polling Rank
Non-Polling Rank
Warren
1
1
1
Biden
2
2
2
Sanders
3
3
4
Buttigieg
4
4.5
3
Harris
5
4.5
6
Yang
6
6
5
Booker
7
7.5
7
O'Rourke
8
7.5
11
Klobuchar
9
10.5
8.5
Gabbard
10
10.5
8.5
Steyer
11
10.5
10
Castro
12
10.5
12
The most recent polling data was collected October 11. The most recent non-polling data was updated October 13.

Analysis of Rank Orders - Updated October 13, 2019

The deadline to qualify for the third debate in mid-September in Houston was Wednesday August 28. Only ten candidates qualified for the September 2019 debate. Most notably, Gabbard (had met fund raising threshold but was short two qualifying polls) and Gillibrand (had not met fund raising threshold and was short three qualifying polls) did not qualify for the September debate. Inslee, Hickenlooper, and Swalwell, all of whom appeared at the June and July debates, had dropped out. The remaining candidates who appeared in the June or July debate, who were not qualified for September, were Delaney, Ryan, Bullock, deBlasio, Bennet and Willamson. Steyer did not qualify for June or July but had been attempting to qualify for September. He had met the fund raising threshold but was short one qualifying poll. After not qualifying, Gillibrand announced she was withdrawing from the race. Steyer has subsequently garnered the necessary qualifying poll and will be on stage in October. Gabbard was one poll short. On September 24, Monmouth released a New Hampshire poll showing Gabbard at 2%. That was her 4th qualifying poll and she will now be invited to the October debate.

This author includes all candidates who qualify for the next debate in the charts and analyses. That means that Steyer and Gabbard have been added to this national, first four, Super-Tuesday and October debate pages.

Nationally, Warren now has a small lead over Biden by 1 point Warren is also ranked 1st for non-polling and her polling lead over Sanders currently stands at 8 points.

Sanders has fallen from 3rd on the non-polling factor to 4th, now behind Buttigieg. The news first that Sanders had a heart procedure for discomfort and now that he had a heart attack has reduced confidence in his ability to win the nomination. Buttigieg remains behind Sanders in 4th and Harris has not shown signs of moving from 5th up or down. Yang appears solid in 6th

The order of the field after Yang has continued to fluctuate and has been affected by Gabbard qualifying for the October debate. Booker as again taken position #7 from O'Rourke. Notably, Booker has and O'Rourke has not qualified for the November debate. The order for positions #9 - #11 with 1% polling (Klobuchar, Gabbard and Steyer) has been changing due to non-polling data with Klobuchar now leading that group. However, only Steyer thus far has qualified for the November debate. Castro's non-polling numbers dropped precipitously after the September debate when his attack on Biden was seen by many as either unfounded, unfair, or perhaps most importantly, not a smart political tactic.

Debates #5 and #6 are scheduled for November and December. Qualifying criteria have been released for November (nothing said about December). DNC seems to be making these decisions on the fly so to speak. By that, this author means that the criteria were not preset in early summer. So that every couple of months, the bar gets raised to some set of numbers, with a different spin. November requires that a candidate receive 4 qualifying polls at 3% from a tweaked list of polls that count OR two polls at 5% from the four early states. In addition to meeting the polling requirement, a candidate must have 165,000 (increased from 130,000) small donors with 600 (increased from 400) from each of 20 states.

Right now, it does not seem that the new requirements would keep any of the top five candidates out of the November debate (Biden, Warren, Sanders, Harris and Buttigieg). The timetable to collect qualifying polls began on September 13 and will run until a week before debate (there is no date set for the November debate). So the question naturally is who is in trouble for the November debate? Currently, it is reported that of the remaining candidates after the top five, only Yang, Booker and Steyer have qualified. Notably, that would leave O'Rourke out of the mix. O'Rourke has the misfortune not to poll well in the early four states, although he does seem a reasonable chance to earn enough national poll numbers to qualify. Gabbard, Klobuchar and Castro need some good numbers to earn a ticket, with Gabbard, in that group, looking most promising.

Pete Buttigieg #4 - October 13, 2019

By Ted Eytan from Washington, DC, USA - 2019.04.07 Victory Fund National Champagne Brunch, Washington, DC USA 01269, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=78041823
By Ted Eytan from Washington, DC, USA - 2019.04.07 Victory Fund National Champagne Brunch, Washington, DC USA 01269, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=78041823 | Source

Kamala Harris #5 - October 13, 2019

Source

Changes to Primary Schedule and Rules - Updated September 23, 2019

The Democratic party has made significant changes to the schedule and the rules. Although final dates for the key Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire primary are not finalized, we know that those two events begin the election season, followed by South Carolina and Nevada, with right now all four elections slotted for February.. That order has not changed and the interval between those elections will not change. There had been online caucus voting planned for both Iowa and Nevada to expand opportunities for people to be able to participate. However, the DNC decided that given security concerns, they were not willing to run that risk and have dropped that component of the voting in the two caucus states.

Update to Iowa caucus situation - leadership there has agreed to recommend to the DNC that they be able to establish satellite sites for individuals who due to physical, work or geographic limitations are not able to access the regular caucus sites. In addition, there has been a conversation with the DNC to allow Iowa Caucus participation for Iowa residents outside of Iowa. Check back here for the DNC response when announced.

However, California and Texas have both moved to Super Tuesday. Puerto Rico has moved from late in the primary season to late March to attempt to become more relevant.

Second, in 2016, the minimum percent in a primary the candidate needed to earn delegates was 15% and that rule is being maintained. This rule as applied to 2020 will make much more of a difference in a crowded field. For example, if we apply this rule to exactly where candidates currently stand on the polling weighted average, only two candidates (Biden and Sanders) have more than 15% of the poll results, meaning they would share all of the delegates in a state and none of the rest would receive any. As an example, were Biden to finish a state with 35% and Sanders 23%, Biden would receive 60% of the delegates and Sanders 40%.

The third change resulted from the "tilt" of the 2016 nomination process where Clinton had a huge lead in super-delegates, which meant that Sanders was always in catch up mode. The party realized the problem (apparently) and now super-delegates cannot cast a vote until a second ballot if one is needed.

Andrew Yang #6 - October 13, 2019

By Asa Mathat for Techonomy - https://techonomy.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/imgl0026-610x406.jpg, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62567780
By Asa Mathat for Techonomy - https://techonomy.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/imgl0026-610x406.jpg, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62567780

Cory Booker #7 - October 13, 2019

By David Shankbone - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15043949
By David Shankbone - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15043949

Beto O'Rourke #8 - October 13, 2019

By crockodile - Flickr.com, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=77319423
By crockodile - Flickr.com, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=77319423 | Source

Amy Klobuchar #9 - October 13, 2019

By United States Senate - http://klobuchar.senate.gov/mediacenter.cfm, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1866289
By United States Senate - http://klobuchar.senate.gov/mediacenter.cfm, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1866289

Tulsi Gabbard #10 - October 13, 2019

By Alohagirl198667 - Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25857344
By Alohagirl198667 - Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25857344

Tom Steyer #11 - Updated October 13, 2019

By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=79496267
By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=79496267

Julian Castro #12 - October 13, 2019

By United States Department of Housing and Urban Development - United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34362843
By United States Department of Housing and Urban Development - United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34362843

Election in the House - 1825

Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1453385
Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1453385

Election in the House - 1825

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    • Ken Burgess profile image

      Ken Burgess 

      3 months ago from Florida

      I would have to get out and actively campaign against Biden, he is deserving of the label "Creepy Joe" and is nothing if not an 'establishment' hack.

      Sanders is an old school Socialist, and his history proves that out even if he denies it today for practical purposes. So he is a 'no' as well.

      Warren is an interesting possibility, she is far more genuine than most politicians and has plenty in her background that suggests she cares about 'Middle America' and the struggling 'Working Class'. Or at the very least understands their struggles. (See Video Below)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akVL7QY0S8A

      The rest I couldn't support mostly because of their extreme political beliefs, or disingenuine character. (I admit there are a couple I do not know anything about, but then, they are so far on the fringe I doubt they will be in the mix four months from now).

      For myself, its already down to one candidate, with a couple outliers I know nothing about.

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