How likable every 2020 presidential candidate is, ranked

Former Vice President Joe Biden beat out every other 2020 Democrat by a significant margin in a likability ranking determined by Democratic voters who plan to cast their ballots in the 2020 primary, according to a new INSIDER poll.

Once the poll respondents indicated which of the candidates they had heard of, INSIDER asked them to “Please rank the following candidates based on how likable or personable you perceive them to be, with the contender in the first (1) position being the most likable and the contender in the highest-numbered position being the least likable.”

Using the results of this question we were able to calculate a “win percentage,” where we can divide the times a candidate was ranked higher than a rival by the total number of times they were compared to a rival.

Biden was ranked by respondents as more likable or personable than his opponents 78% of the time. Meanwhile, both South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders were ranked as the more likable candidate 70% of the time.

INSIDER found that male and female voters perceived some candidates’ likability very differently. Women voters found Biden more likable than male voters did, while they found Sanders less likable than male voters did.

Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren were ranked next-highest on the likability spectrum. Warren beat out her opponents on the likability measure 63% of the time, while Warren was perceived as more likable 59% of the time.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was ranked the lowest of the nearly two dozen Democratic candidates. Democratic voters said de Blasio was more likable than his opponents just 33% of the time.

A significantly greater percentage of women than men said Harris,Sen. Cory Booker, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper were more likable or personable than their competitors. Meanwhile, a much greater percentage of men than women said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and entrepreneur Andrew Yang were more likable.

Read more:
Here’s how Americans rank the 2020 presidential candidates on the political spectrum

There has been some discussion in recent years about how gender bias influences voters’ and the media’s perception of a candidate’s likability or “authenticity.”

In a recent report on the role of gender in the 2016 election, the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University found that female presidential candidates were often held to different likability and ethical standards than their male counterparts. The report highlights how female candidates, including Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina, were regularly criticised for not smiling enough and talking too loudly, while male candidates like Donald Trump and Sanders were rarely faulted for their passion or seriousness.

“Research on gender stereotypes reveals that voters may be less likely to expect honesty and ethical behaviour from men than from women,” the report read. “As a result, it is entirely possible that women candidates might be held to higher standards than men when it comes to honesty and ethics in their pasts and on the campaign trail.”

The median female candidate ranked 11th of 23 candidates in INSIDER’s poll, while the median male candidate ranked 14th. (Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams was included in the survey responses as she’s reportedly considering a bid).

INSIDER only notes the split between male and female voters’ likability rankings for each candidate when the difference is greater than the margin of error.

SurveyMonkey Audience polls from a national sample balanced by census data of age and gender. Respondents are incentivized to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital polling tends to skew toward people with access to the internet. SurveyMonkey Audience doesn’t try to weight its sample based on race or income. Total 1,168 respondents collected May 17 to 18, 2019, a margin of error plus or minus 3.08 percentage points with a 95% confidence level.

Here’s the ranking of presidential candidates from least to most likable, according to Democratic voters:

Mayor Bill de Blasio — 33%Women voters: 34%, Male voters: 32%

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: 40%Women voters: 33%, Male voters: 46%

Former Rep. John Delaney: 42%Women voters: 35%, Male voters: 50%

Sen. Michael Bennet: 42%Women voters: 34%, Male voters: 49%

Rep. Seth Moulton: 42%Women voters: 34%, Male voters: 48%

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper: 42%Women voters: 38%, Male voters: 48%

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock: 43%Women voters: 41%, Male voters: 46%

Self-help guru Marianne Williamson: 44%Women voters: 30%, Male voters: 60%

Rep. Tim Ryan: 44%Women voters: 44%, Male voters: 45%

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang: 45%Women voters: 35%, Male voters: 49%

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee: 47%Women voters: 38%, Male voters: 54%

Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro: 48%Women voters: 50%, Male voters: 45%

Sen. Amy Klobuchar: 48%Women voters: 54%, Male voters: 43%

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: 49%Women voters: 48%, Male voters: 49%

Rep. Eric Swalwell: 50%Women voters: 49%, Male voters: 51%

Sen. Cory Booker: 55%Women voters: 61%, Male voters: 48%


Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke: 59%Women voters: 59%, Male voters: 59%

Sen. Elizabeth Warren: 59%Women voters: 58%, Male voters: 60%

Sen. Kamala Harris: 63%Women voters: 69%, Male voters: 58%

Sen. Bernie Sanders: 70%Women voters: 66%, Male voters: 73%

Kimberly White/Getty Images for MoveO

Mayor Pete Buttigieg — 70%Women voters: 69%, Male voters: 70%

Former Vice President Joe Biden: 78%Women voters: 80%, Male voters: 75%

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