Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) slow but steady ascent in state and national polls over the last several months has been well-documented.  There may be a ceiling on how much Democrat support she can amass, however.

Despite of the inroads she’s made with Democratic voters in some of the crucial early primary/caucus states, new polling information released by the New York Times this week shows both Warren and fellow top tier candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have a problem with Democratic voters in key swing states and their desire for a moderate candidate:

A majority of Democratic voters in key states for the 2020 presidential election prefer a moderate candidate who would work with Republican lawmakers instead of a candidate who would fight for a “bold progressive agenda,” according to a new poll.

Democratic primary voters in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Arizona and Florida largely said they want a more moderate presidential nominee, the New York Times–Siena College poll found.

By the numbers, a whopping 62% of Democratic primary voters in these states say they want a moderate candidate who will “promise to find common ground with Republicans.” 55% of them want their nominee to “be more moderate than most Democrats.” Neither Warren nor Sanders have shown much interest in working across the aisle, and the word “moderate” will never describe either of them.

This information confirms the fears of some Democratic establishment types and voters alike who have been raising alarm bells in recent weeks about what they see as deep flaws with Warren, Sanders, and even Joe Biden. They feel that because Warren and Sanders are so far left they would have a tougher time against President Trump in the general election.

There is also concern that Biden’s penchant for flubs and gaffes would hobble him in a race against someone like Trump who loves to needle Biden as a weak candidate.

Related polling numbers also released by the New York Times this week bear this out. In general election match ups in the same battleground states mentioned above, Trump fares better against Warren and Sanders in the general and slightly trails Biden in all states except North Carolina.

In addition to all of this, the polling number crunchers at 538 note that Warren’s polls have “leveled off” since the fourth Democrat debate in October, which also happened to coincide with the rise in questions about Warren’s Medicare for All plan—questions she’d given non-answers to for months.

Now that she’s released details of her plan, the scrutiny has intensified—along with the criticism from other Democrats beyond just her competitors in the presidential race who think the plan is too costly and ultimately will prove deeply unpopular with voters.

It’s not just her Medicare for All plan that has Democrats worried, either. Her persistent attacks on big business are turning off business-minded Democratic voters and donors who say if she ends up being the nominee, they’ll sit out the election—or vote for Trump:

“You’re in a box because you’re a Democrat and you’re thinking, ‘I want to help the party, but she’s going to hurt me, so I’m going to help President Trump,’” said a senior private equity executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity in fear of retribution by party leaders.

Both Warren’s and Sanders’ unapologetic far left stances, combined with Biden’s perceived weaknesses as a general election candidate are reportedly the primary reason billionaire Michael Bloomberg has taken steps to join the presidential race:

Lest there be any doubt about what’s fueling his decision, chief political aide Howard Wolfson explained Bloomberg’s thinking late Thursday as the political world grappled with the significance of his boss’ stunning decision to step toward a run.

“We now need to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated,” Wolfson said, “but Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to do that.”

Of course, Biden’s underwhelming candidacy is only one piece. The other top-tier candidates have glaring weaknesses that have deepened Democrats’ sense of anxiety as well.

Bernie Sanders is a 78-year-old self-described democratic socialist recovering from a heart attack. Pete Buttigieg is 37-year-old mayor whose chief accomplishment is leading a city that can fit into college football stadium. And Warren, who has surged past Biden in Iowa and New Hampshire, wants to eliminate private health insurance in favor of a government-backed plan she’s struggling to explain how she’d pay for.

Those big business Democrats? They seem to like Bloomberg a lot.

We’re less than three months away from the first votes being cast in Iowa. That’s still a long enough time span for the dynamics of the race to change. But one thing that won’t change is both Warren’s and Sanders’ unabashed, take-it-or-leave-it brand of extreme leftism.

Ultimately, it will be up to Democratic voters to decide. But when it comes to states Democrats need to win in the general election in 2020, neither Warren nor Sanders should be too surprised if Democrat primary voters in those states end up showing them the door.

— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.