Super Tuesday Exit Polls Show Divide Over Priorities: Beating Trump Versus Supporting Major Issues
There are plenty of ways to look at how Super Tuesday wound up producing the results that it did.
You can look at racial demographics, and see that Sen. Bernie Sanders outperformed former Vice President Joe Biden, among Latinx voters, by 9 points, while Biden did better with black voters by a margin of 41 points.
You can examine voters’ ages, and it’ll show you that young voters overwhelmingly chose Sanders as their top pick, while older voters tended to go with Biden.
But one of the topics that show where voters’ mindsets were on Super Tuesday, according to exit polling data compiled by the Washington Post, is electability versus supporting issues that matter.
Among voters that said they wanted a candidate that backed up their own political views, Sanders did better, with 39 percent of voters who said they prioritized that issue backing him (in a median of state polls collected). For Biden, only 25 percent of voters who said that was their top reason for picking a candidate opted to go with him.
Advantage: Sanders, by 14 points.
Meanwhile, on an equally important topic, it was Biden who did better than Sanders on the issue of who can beat President Donald Trump in the general election, in most voters’ minds. Forty-three percent of voters who said that mattered more to them went with Biden, while 23 percent of voters on that issue backed up Sanders.
Advantage: Biden, by 20 points.
New Hampshire voters by 62-34% say it’s more important to them to support the candidate with the best chance of defeating Donald Trump, per preliminary exit poll results, rather than supporting the candidate who agrees with them on major issues. https://t.co/xjYf9eJpu5
— ABC News (@ABC) February 11, 2020
Pitting these two issues against each other has yielded interesting results in the past.
In a Monmouth poll from early last year, for example, given the choice between the two competing ideas, 56 percent of voters in the poll said they’d rather have a candidate who could beat Trump than matches their policy positions. Just 41 percent said the opposite.
In entrance polling during the statewide Iowa Caucus earlier this year, 63 percent of voters said they wanted a candidate who could beat Trump, while 35 percent said they wanted a person who matched the issues that mattered to them most.