A new Echelon Insights poll released Monday found that Vice President Kamala Harris has overtaken Governor Gavin Newsom once again as the preferred candidate to run as President in 2024 should President Joe Biden either not run or lose in the primaries.
For months, Governor Newsom and Vice President Harris have been the top Democratic candidates in numerous polls, with Newsom beating Harris by a narrow margin in early July, while Harris was up over a third place Newsom by seven points in late July. Newsom’s national profile increased during the summer with a reaffirmation of California as an abortion sanctuary state, letting loose off-season ads in Florida, Texas and other states promoting himself and California, and, most recently, moving closer to the center of the party by vetoing legislation such as a drug-injection site bill.
Harris, meanwhile, has seen a boost of popularity following Biden’s approval rating going down below Trump and Clinton levels during the same time in their presidency. However, it should be noted that Harris’ boost only comes after reaching a record low approval rating of 28% last year.
While Newsom’s steps won over Democrats once again in early August, with Republicans naming him the candidate to beat in 2024, Harris’ surge as well as some flak against Newsom on the left and right either for going to far to the center or not enough on numerous recent issues have been a gamechanger. The newest poll shows Harris on top with 21% preference as the 2024 Democratic candidate. In second place, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Georgia Democratic Governor candidate Stacey Abrams sit at 7%. Newsom, as well as New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren sit at a distant 6%.
Harris, Newsom in close Dem battle
Now at a 15% gap, and only months until the mid-terms and an expected swarm of candidates declaring their intentions to run early next year, many are keeping a close eye on both potential Republican and Democratic candidates.
“It’s clear right now that no one wants another four years of Biden,” Laura Chaffee, an elections analyst in Washington, DC, told the Globe on Monday. “Over half the country doesn’t want to run again including nearly all Republicans and over half of Democrats. He’s up there in age, and a lot of his actions have either been polarizing or just plain bad, like getting out of Afghanistan.”
“And the Democrats are the curious side. The GOP, it’s Trump, DeSantis, and Pence who are the front people right now no question. For the Dems though, it has been an all out tug of war. Harris and Newsom are the ones who keep getting into first in these polls, but Buttigieg, AOC, Bernie Sanders, and so many others are getting decent showings too. It also doesn’t help that the Democrats are being divided amongst ideology and candidates of different age. For the GOP, candidates can skew more center or more right and still generally have a good chance. There’s some division with Trump, but the GOP has shown, when the chips are down, voters will still come out. Look at what happened in the Midwest during the 2016 election.”
“And the polls are clearly showing this. GOP voters know who they want and just need to figure out the perfect more centrist person to run with whomever they pick. It’s been a consistent 3. The Democrats, you have 5, 6, 7 candidates coming in with decent numbers, all of whom already have big election machines behind them. Newsom and Harris are popular, but so are a bunch of other people. The big thing they don’t talk about is the age gap in the Democratic Party. A lot of older Democrats don’t trust the younger ones and vice versa. In the GOP, age isn’t really an issue as long as they do a good job. Neither is race or gender for that matter. A record number of people of color candidates are running this year under the GOP ticket, and people couldn’t be more excited. But many Dems remain stubborn.”
“For Californians, it shows the power the state has at the national level despite population loss and everything. Top people are still there and could win. And you can bet it will be ever changing, especially after what we see Newsom does with bill signings and what the mid-terms bring. And if Biden confirms for sure if he will or will not run.”
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