Former Vice President Joe Biden remains the front-runner among the 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls – despite not yet officially entering the race – and he performs the best of those potential nominees in a hypothetical matchup with President Donald Trump, according to a Fox News poll released Sunday.
When asked who they would like to see win the nomination from a list 20 potential candidates, 31 percent of Democratic primary voters chose Biden. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., came in second with 23 percent, followed by California Sen. Kamala Harris (8 percent), former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke (8 percent), Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (4 percent) and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker (4 percent).
The other potential candidates were the choice of 2 percent or fewer Democratic primary voters. Another 11 percent said they didn’t know who they would vote for.
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Overall, 67 percent of Democratic primary voters said they would like Biden to enter the race, while 19 percent said they hope he stays out.
Biden performed the best of the potential Democratic nominees in a theoretical head-to-head matchup with Trump. If the election were held today, 47 percent of voters said they would vote for Biden, while 40 percent said they would vote for Trump.
The poll also found Sanders winning a contest with Trump, although by a narrower margin of 44 to 41 percent. The other two potential matchups against Trump that pollsters looked at were Warren and Harris. Harris trailed Trump 39-41, while Warren was behind 40-42.
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Beating Trump remains the top criteria for Democrats as they select their standard bearer to try and unseat the president. Only 36 percent of Democratic primary voters said the candidate they like the most will be the one they support. Fifty-one percent said the more important question is who can defeat Trump.
“Democratic primary voters would welcome Biden into the field, should he run,” said Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who conducted the Fox News Poll with Republican Daron Shaw. “They prioritize beating Trump, and as of now Biden fares best of the more widely known Democratic candidates against Trump.”
The poll was conducted from March 17-20, before the news broke that special counsel Robert Mueller had completed his investigation into Russian election meddling without any further indictments.
Fifty-two percent of respondents said they approve of Mueller’s handling of the probe, while 36 percent said they disapproved. And 80 percent said Mueller’s report should be made public. Another 52 percent said Trump had tried to interfere in the investigation, while 36 percent did not. Forty-five percent said they trusted Mueller to tell the truth more than Trump, while 29 percent said they trusted Trump over Mueller.
The poll found Trump’s approval rating unchanged from the 46 percent it found in February.
The Fox News poll was conducted from a random sample of 1,002 registered voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.