Fox News Poll: Interest in 2020 already at Election Day levels

More than three-quarters of voters are already interested in the 2020 presidential election, including over half, 52 percent, who are “extremely” interested, according to the latest Fox News Poll. That matches interest levels typically seen only in the last weeks before Election Day.

The enthusiasm is on both sides. Fifty-seven percent of voters who supported Hillary Clinton in 2016 are “extremely” interested in the upcoming election, as are 57 percent of Donald Trump voters, and two-thirds of self-identified “very conservatives” (67 percent) and “very liberals” (65 percent).

Democratic primary voters are upbeat about many of their options. Nearly 8 in 10 would be satisfied with Joe Biden (78 percent) or Bernie Sanders (75 percent) winning the nomination, while 6 in 10 would be happy with Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren (each 61 percent).

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Compare that to 53 percent who would be satisfied if the nominee were Beto O’Rourke, 50 percent Cory Booker, 43 percent Pete Buttigieg, 38  percent Julian Castro or Kirsten Gillibrand, or 34 percent Amy Klobuchar. Still, there is room for opinions to change for these candidates, as at least 3 in 10 primary voters don’t know enough about each to have an opinion.

Two candidates, Harris and Buttigieg, perform notably better among “extremely” interested Democratic primary voters: satisfaction with Harris as the nominee goes from 61 to 70 percent, and satisfaction with Buttigieg increases from 43 to 50 percent.

Among Democratic primary voters, men, women, whites, and non-whites generally agree on the candidate ratings, but there is a significant difference in opinion among age groups.  Primary voters under age 45 are more likely than those 45 and over to say they would be satisfied if Sanders were the nominee (82 percent vs. 68 percent). Those ages 45+ (82 percent) are happier if Biden is the nominee than those under 45 (73 percent).

Eighty percent of those satisfied with Biden as the nominee would also be happy with Sanders, and 83 percent of those happy with Sanders would be fine if Biden wins.

There’s little fallout from the criticism that Biden’s “touchy” behavior has made some women uncomfortable. Most, 76 percent, are unconcerned about it.  That includes 82 percent of Democratic women, 82 percent of Democrats, 81 percent of women over age 45, 71 percent of women under 45, 68 percent of Republicans, and 67 percent of GOP women.

Almost all Republican primary voters, 88 percent, would be pleased with President Trump as the 2020 GOP nominee.  That includes 64 percent who would be “very” satisfied.

Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld announced April 15 he is challenging Trump for the Republican nomination.  His first task is improving his name recognition, as 50 percent of primary voters have never heard of him.  Twelve percent would be satisfied if he wins.

The poll tested several policy proposals discussed on the campaign trail.  Majorities support establishing Congressional term limits (80 percent favor), pushing for renewable energy (70 percent), providing government-run health insurance for all (59 percent), providing free college tuition for all (57 percent), reducing government regulations (57 percent), and abolishing the Electoral College (52 percent).

There is less support for building a border wall (45 percent favor), increasing the number of Supreme Court justices (37 percent) and paying reparations for slavery (32 percent).

The top three policies favored by Democrats are Medicare for all (87 percent), renewable energy sources (86 percent), and free college tuition (81 percent). For Republicans, the largest numbers favor term limits (86 percent), a border wall (83 percent), and fewer regulations (74 percent).

“There’s appreciable support for free benefits from the federal government along with reining in that same government,” says Republican pollster Daron Shaw. “I’m not sure the public sees the irony.”  Shaw conducts the Fox News Poll with Democratic counterpart Chris Anderson.

Meanwhile, a majority, 53 percent, believes GOP policies benefit the rich and powerful rather than everyday Americans (32 percent), while voters are more likely to see the Democratic Party as being for everyday Americans (40 percent) than the rich (34 percent).

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When considering significant policy proposals that are now law, voters continue to view the 2010 Affordable Care Act more favorably than the 2017 tax reform law. Forty-seven percent have a positive opinion of ObamaCare compared to 36 percent for the GOP tax law.

Conducted April 14-16, 2019 under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company (R), this Fox News Poll includes interviews with 1,005 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide who spoke with live interviewers on both landlines and cellphones. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters, and five points for both the Democratic (413) and Republican primary voter samples (374).