A new national Emerson poll, including 20 Democratic candidates for President, found Senator Bernie Sanders ahead of the pack with 29%, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden at 24%. They were followed by Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 9%, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Senator Kamala Harris at 8%, and Senator Elizabeth Warren at 7%. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang and former HUD secretary Julian Castro were at 3%. The poll was conducted April 11-14 of Democratic Primary voters with a subset of n=356, +/- 5.2%.

Spencer Kimball, Director of Emerson Polling, said “while still early in the nominating process, it looks like Mayor Pete is the candidate capturing voters’ imagination; the numbers had him at 0% in mid-February, 3% in March and now at 9% in April.”

Kimball also noted that “Biden has seen his support drop. In February, he led Sanders 27% to 17%, and in March the two were tied at 26%. Now, Sanders has a 5 point lead, 29% to 24%.”

If Joe Biden decides not to run, Bernie Sanders looks to be the early beneficiary, picking up 31% of Bidens’ voters. Mayor Pete Buttigieg gets 17% of the Biden vote, followed by Beto O’Rourke at 13%.

President Trump has seen his approval numbers nationally stay consistent in 2019 and is currently at 43% approval and 49% disapproval among voters (n=914, +/-3.2%), similar to last month’s numbers (43% to 50%). However, among Republican primary voters, Trump remains very popular and leads potential challenger, former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, 85% to 15% (n=324, +/-5.4%).

In a head to head ballot test, Joe Biden appears the strongest opponent against Trump of the major Democratic candidates with a 53% to 47% advantage. This result is down 4 points from Emerson’s March poll, where Biden led Trump 55% to 45%. This general tightening is seen in the other head-to heads against other potential opponents: (n=914, +/-3.2%)

  • Biden 53%, Trump 47%
  • Sanders 51%, Trump 48%
  • O’Rourke 51%, Trump 49%
  • Harris 50%, Trump 50%
  • Buttigieg 49%, Trump 51%
  • Warren 48%, Trump 52%


As of April 14, 2019, 73% of voters said they had filed their federal income tax returns, 17% plan to get them in on time and 4% have asked for an extension. 6% do not plan on filing returns.

36% of those who have filed their taxes say they are paying more compared to last year, with 29% saying they are paying less, and 35% saying they are paying about the same.

Of those who said they were receiving a tax return this year, 41% said they plan to use it to pay off debt, 31% plan to save it, and 13% will spend the money on enjoyment.

Campaign Issues

  • 47% of voters support building a wall on the US-Mexico Border, 45% oppose, 8% are undecided.
  • 41% of voters do not think large tech giants like Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google should be broken up, 29% think they should be broken up, and 31% are undecided.
  • 43% of voters do not support American intervention in Venezuela to overthrow the Maduro Regime, 27% do support American intervention, 31% were unsure.
  • 55% of voters do not think individuals currently incarcerated should have the right to vote, 30% believe those incarcerated should be able to vote , and 15% are undecided on this issue.
  • 65% of voters think that felons who completed their prison sentences should have the right to vote, 23% do not, and 12% are undecided.

Unlikely Voter

Voters who did not plan to vote in either party primary/caucus were asked why they were not planning on voting, 16% said lack of interest, 12% said they don’t like any of the candidates, 11% said it was too hard to vote, 6% said a lack of time, and 55% responded that it was for some other reason that they do not plan to vote in the primaries.

Caller ID

The national Emerson College poll was conducted April 11-14, 2019 under the Supervision of Professor Spencer Kimball. The sample consisted of registered voters, n=914, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3.2 percentage points. The data was weighted based on a 2016 voter model of gender, age, party affiliation, region and ethnicity. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, party breakdown, ethnicity and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using both an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines only (n=599) and an online panel provided by Amazon Turk (n=315). Visit our website at ​www.emersonpolling.com​. 

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