POWER RANKING: Here's who has the best chance of becoming the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee

  • The Democratic 2020 presidential field is set to be one of the largest, most competitive, and most unpredictable in modern history with 24 declared candidates.
  • To help make sense of where all these candidates stand in the field, INSIDER has been conducting a recurring SurveyMonkey Audience national poll.
  • We’ve combined INSIDER’s polling and results of Morning Consult’s daily survey of the 2020 Democratic primary in order to create a power ranking of declared and potential 2020 candidates.
  • Compared to the last version of our ranking published on June 7, we’ve upgraded Sen. Elizabeth Warren to second place and downgraded Sen. Bernie Sanders to third.

  • Here’s what our power ranking looks like as of June 14, 2019.

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

With 24 declared candidates in the race, the Democratic the 2020 presidential field is set to be one of the largest, most competitive, and most unpredictable in modern history.

To help make sense of where all these candidates stand in the field, INSIDER has been conducting a recurring SurveyMonkey Audience national poll. You can download every single poll here, down to the individual respondent data.

Read more about how the INSIDER 2020 Democratic primary tracker works.

At this point in the race, we’re mainly interested in using our polling to figure out:

  • What percentage of Democratic voters are familiar with each candidate in the first place.
  • How Democrats rate each candidate’s chances of beating President Donald Trump in a general election match-up.
  • If a given candidate were to drop out of the race, who their supporters would flock to next.

We’ve combined INSIDER’s polling and results of Morning Consult’s daily survey of the 2020 Democratic primary in order to create a power ranking of declared and potential 2020 candidates.

We switched our ranking up a bit for the weeks of May 31 and June 7 as we got a much clearer sense of who will be on the stage for the first Democratic debates on June 26 and June 27, and as the Democratic National Committee released updated criteria for the second round of debates in September requiring candidates to obtain 130,000 individual donors and reach 2% in at least four polls.

The new requirements have stratified the field of candidates into three distinct tiers within our ranking: the top candidates who are guaranteed a spot on the stage for the first debates and will almost definitely qualify for those in the fall, the bottom set of candidates who are highly unlikely to make either, and the middle tier for whom the next few months will make or break their campaigns.

Read more:

The DNC just made it harder to get on the debate stage and the crowded field of candidates could get a lot smaller very soon

Now that the debate stage is set, we’re in a holding pattern this week until after the debates for the middle and bottom tiers of the field but saw some movement at the top. Thanks to Sen.Elizabeth Warren out-preforming Sen. Bernie Sanders in three polls this week, we upgraded her to second place, and downgraded Sanders to third.

Here’s what our ranking looks like as of June 14, 2019.

24: Montana Gov. Steve Bullock.

Steve Bullock became the 22nd candidate to enter the race on May 14.

Even though he’s currently polling at 0% in Morning Consult, Bullock had a surprisingly impressive first week of his candidacy. We moved up him seven spots from 18th to 11th place in our ranking between May 10 and May 17.

Bullock raised $US1 million in the first 24 hours of his candidacy and has been able to attract some sizeable crowds and support from statewide and local politicians in Iowa.

Despite his strong opening week, Bullock had the rug pulled out from under him in terms of qualifying for the debates when the DNC retroactively disqualified one of the polls in which Bullock reached 1%.

With just five days to reach 1% in another approved poll, Bullock’s chances of making the first debate are rapidly slipping away, so we dropped him from 13th to 24th place between May 31 and June 7.

Read more about Steve Bullock’s campaign.

23: Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam.

Messam, who announced on March 28, isn’t registering in Morning Consult’s polling yet and will have an uphill battle attracting voters and donors as such a late entry into the field with very limited name recognition.

More importantly, it seems like his campaign already fell apart at the seams just weeks after its official launch.

According to a recent report in the Miami New Times, several campaign staffers have already quit after the campaign couldn’t make payroll, and the campaign hasn’t sent out any press releases in almost a month.

The campaign subsequent recently sent a memo, obtained by the New Times, informing remaining staff that Messam’s wife Angela has “consolidated all of the financial and banking assets of the campaign under her exclusive control” and is “refusing to issue paychecks.”

It goes without saying that Messam hasn’t reached either the polling or fundraising requirement for the first debate.

22: Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton.

Craig Walker/The Boston Globe/Getty ImagesDemocratic Rep. Seth Moulton.

Moulton, who became the 19th Democrat to enter the primary on April 22, is polling at 0% in Morning Consult’s surveys.

The third-term congressman has low name recognition, but we’ve moved Moulton up five spots from 22nd to 17th place between May 24 and May 31 after his strong week.

He came out ahead of the curve on impeaching Trump ahead of many other 2020 contenders, and also made news by opening up about being treated for PTSD following his service in the Marine Corps, and unveiling a plan to improve mental health care for active-duty servicemembers and veterans.

But since he still hasn’t reached the required 1% in three approved polls to make the first debate, he fell five spots in our ranking back down to 22nd place on June 7.

Read more about Seth Moulton’s campaign.

21: New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio

De Blasio formally announced his campaign on May 16, the 23rd candidate to jump into the race.

Not only does de Blasio have low national name recognition, but he is, by far, the most unpopular 2020 candidate both among the residents of his own city and among the broader Democratic primary electorate.

De Blasio was able to win a crowded 2013 mayoral primary thanks to the last-minute implosion of Anthony Weiner, but his likelihood of winning the presidential nomination is slim to none unless several major candidates experience a Weiner-level scandal.

We moved de Blasio from 24th to 25th place between May 17 and May 24 given some abysmal polling numbers that came in for the mayor.In INSIDER polling, just 10% of Democratic voters surveyed would be satisfied with him as the nominee and 44% would be actively dissatisfied, the highest dissatisfaction level any 2020 candidates have received in our surveys so far.

And a Quinnipiac national poll released May 21 found that de Blasio has a stunning net disapproval rating of -37%, with 8% of respondents viewing him favorability compared to 45% who view him disfavorably.

De Blasio moved up four spots in our ranking from 25th to 21st place given that he’s met the polling requirements for the June debates, but he’s still on shaky footing.

Read more about Bill de Blasio’s campaign.

20: Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney.

Delaney enjoys a surprising amount of name recognition but has been unable to translate that into any support in a meaningful way.

He’s among those at 1 per cent in Morning Consult polls. According to INSIDER’s polling, he’s known by about 20 per cent of Democrats, but has been unable to build a base of support unlike other candidates with similar levels of attention, such as Pete Buttigieg or John Hickenlooper.

While Delaney has met the polling requirement for the June debates, we dropped him one spot from 19th to 20th place in our ranking between May 31 and June 7 after he publicly picked a fight with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and ended up on the losing side.

Read more about John Delaney’s campaign.

19: California Rep. Eric Swalwell.

Swalwell, a 38-year-old three-term congressman from California, entered the race on April 8, and is polling at 0% in Morning Consult’s surveys.

Swalwell has scant name recognition and is mainly known for his involvement in the Trump-Russia probes as a member of the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees.

While Swalwell isn’t basing his campaign around the Trump-Russia probe, it doesn’t appear to be a promising path to the presidency when it comes to issues voters care about.

Swalwell hasn’t moved in the polls since his announcement almost two months ago, but we moved him up four spots from 23rd place to 19th place from May 31 to June 7 since he’s met the polling requirement for the first debates.

Read more about Eric Swalwell’s campaign.

18: Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet.

Bennet, who recently underwent successful surgery for prostate cancer, formally announced his presidential campaign on May 2.

But Bennet – who has been in the US Senate for 10 years – currently has the distinction of being both the least-recognised and worst-polling individual with any political experience in the 2020 field.

Bennet is at 1% in Morning Consult’s polling, and his would-be constituency has not yet materialised, but he got lucky and met the polling requirement for the first Democratic debates because people who don’t know who he is still picked him as their first choice in a CNN poll.

Because of his debate qualification, we moved Bennet up two spots from 20th to 18th place between May 31 and June 7.

Read more about Michael Bennet’s campaign.

17: Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel

Gravel, 88, is running perhaps the most unique 2020 campaign. Managed by three high-school and college-aged students, the main goal of Gravel’s candidacy is to get to the debate stage – and get US imperialism and foreign policy in the 2020 discussion.

Not only has Gravel’s candidacy has generated a lot of online buzz with his staff’s eye-catching tweets, but he’s even achieved 1% in a few polls, although he hasn’t yet registered on Morning Consult’s radar.

We moved Gravel up six spots between May 24 and June 7 because while he’s unlikely to win, he and his staff are having the most fun on social media, rolling out some eye-catching new Instagram memes and having the teens running his campaign being profiled by The New York Times magazine.

16: Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan.

Mark Wilson/Getty ImagesRep. Tim Ryan of Ohio.

Tim Ryan is in the tier of candidates polling behind people who have not entered the race.

While Ryan is pitching himself as a pro-labour alternative to Trump for Rust-Belt voters, he sows doubt about his ability to beat Trump in the general.

He has only climbed to 1% in Morning Consult in the past two weeks and does not have national name recognition, even compared to other former members of the House.

We moved Ryan down four spots from 13th place to 17th between April 30 and May 17 given that of former Vice President Joe Biden’s entry into the race completely crowds out Ryan and his message.

Ryan pitched his campaign on his blue-collar, working-class appeal and his track record winning in rural communities, which is the exact lane Biden is successfully running in.

But we moved Ryan back up one spot to 16th place on June 7 given his meeting the polling requirement for the first Democratic debate.

Read more about Tim Ryan’s campaign.

15: Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderJohn Hickenlooper exits the stage after speaking at the NAN Conference on April 5, 2019 in New York City.

Hickenlooper has modest name recognition at best, and hasn’t been able to translate his strong track record serving 15 years in public office in Colorado and stature as one of the only governors in the race into tangible support.

Hickenlooper is not widely perceived as being able to beat Trump in INSIDER polling, has not gone above 1% in Morning Consult polls all year, and didn’t report particularly strong first-quarter fundraising.

We moved Hickenlooper down five spots in our ranking from 11th place on April 30 to 16th place on May 17. Like Ryan, Hickenlooper is squarely running in Biden’s wheelhouse, making the point of his candidacy even less clear.

Hickenlooper originally pitched himself as a centrist, business-friendly Democrat and an experienced deal-maker – which is exactly the approach Biden is taking.

Given the significant polling bump Biden received after his announcement and his cross-coalitional base of support, it’s hard to see how Hickenlooper can maintain any unique appeal with Biden sucking up so much air.

Read more about John Hickenlooper’s campaign.

14: New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

Gillibrand, while known by around 40% of likely Democratic primary voters, according to INSIDER polling, has been struggling considerably in the shadow of Harris and Sanders.

She has fairly miserable polling numbers for a candidate of her calibre, not breaking through 0-2% in Morning Consult surveys despite being one of the first to announce.

Gillibrand’s supporters also like many of the other candidates ahead of her, and just 14% of respondents polled by INSIDER believe she could beat Trump in a general election match-up – the worst result of all the female candidates, and third-lowest overall.

We moved Gillibrand down two spots in our ranking from 7th to 9th place on May 10, another five spots down to 14th place on May 17, and an additional two spots on May 24.

Gillibrand hasn’t been able to improve in the polls in the past month, or attain the 65,000 required donors to meet the fundraising threshold to qualify for the Democratic debates in June.

While she’s still short by 5,000 donors to meet the grassroots fundraising requirement, we moved Gillibrand up two spots from 16th to 14th place from May 31 to June 7 given her previous strong week of fundraising driven by her passionate recent activism on behalf of reproductive rights.

Read more about Kirsten Gillibrand’s campaign.

13: Marianne Williamson.

Ramesh Pathania/Mint via Getty ImagesMarianne Williamson.

Despite having one of the longest-running campaigns, Williamson, a motivational speaker and New Age spiritual guru, has not been capable of consolidating support or name recognition.

Williamson raised $US1.5 million in 2019’s first quarter and earned the 65,000 individual donors required to make the first Democratic debates.

Despite her low name recognition and lack of political experience, we moved her up nine spots from 22nd place to 13th between May 31 and June 7 since she’s met both requirements to qualify for the first debates in late June.

Read more about Marianne Williamson’s campaign.

12: Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

YouTubeDemocratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

Gabbard has some serious viability problems among Democrats.

Not only do a significant proportion of respondents in INSIDER polling say they are unhappy with her as the nominee compared to her rivals, but Gabbard has not been able to consolidate support in a meaningful way.

Despite being one of the first to enter the race, Gabbard is still polling at 1% in Morning Consult and is considered a less viable opponent to President Donald Trump in the general election than most other candidates.

However, Gabbard moved up by two places in our ranking between April 30 and May 10 given that unlike other candidates, she’s not running in the same lane as Biden and still has a unique message.

Read more about Tulsi Gabbard’s campaign.

11: Former San Antonio Mayor and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro.

While around one-third of Democrats surveyed are aware of Castro, this has not translated into good polling numbers for the former cabinet secretary.

According to Morning Consult, Castro has been in the doldrums of polling at 1% for 2019. And he only raised $US1.1 million in 2019’s first quarter, less than other lesser-known candidates like Andrew Yang, Marianne Williamson, and John Hickenlooper.

Moreover, many of Castro’s supporters would be satisfied with other candidates, according to INSIDER polling.

Sen. Kamala Harris, in particular, is consolidating a base of support that could eat Castro’s lunch in early primary states like California, Nevada, South Carolina, and Arizona.

Castro moved down one two spots from 9th to 11th place in our ranking between May 24 to June 7.

Read more about Julian Castro’s campaign.

10: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

Among serious candidates with political experience at any level, Inslee is doing among the poorest when it comes to generating attention in the field.

Despite currently serving as a chief executive and previously serving in Congress for 15 years, he’s barely managed to secure 1% in the Morning Consult polls.

While Inslee’s performance in the polls hasn’t markedly improved, we moved Inslee up 4 spots from 14th place to 10th place between May 31 and June 7.

His ambitious climate plan and his push for a DNC climate debate helped him make a powerful ally in Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and situate him as a principled fighter for climate action.

Read more about Jay Inslee’s campaign.

9: Andrew Yang.

(AP Photo/Seth WenigAndrew Yang.

Yang, despite the low name recognition that accompanies running for POTUS without any political experience, is actually doing fairly well in INSIDER polling.

He isn’t a favourite by any measure, polling at 1% in Morning Consult, but his online army of supporters and meme creators, known as the Yang Gang, helped Yang raise $US1.7 million in just seven weeks almost entirely from small donations.

Yang’s candidacy will test whether his unprecedented online popularity, an asset very few candidates have in this election, can translate not just into fundraising dollars but also into votes.

We moved Yang up by five spots total from 15th to 10th place between April 30 to May 17, and an additional spot above Castro on May 31, placing him right below the top tier of candidates.

Yang has been able to sustain the buzz around his campaign for weeks despite his lack of political experience, has built a grassroots network of 110,000 unique donors, and hasn’t let former Vice President Joe Biden’s entrance into the race undermine his unique appeal and policy ideas.

Read more about Andrew Yang’s campaign.

8: Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Klobuchar is known by about a third of the Democratic electorate, and she has one of the better-perceived chances of beating Trump,according to INSIDER polling.

She’s still overshadowed by her other Senate colleagues with higher name recognition and is the least well-known person of all senators running for president in INSIDER polling.

Klobuchar is currently polling at 1% in Morning Consult. She remained in 8th place in our ranking from April 30 to May 9.

While Klobuchar famously launched her campaign in a snowstorm, her position in the top 10 is melting away, and she will likely fall in our ranking in the near future. She’s held on to 8th place by virtue of her position as a Senator, but since has slipped to the doldrums of 1% along with far lesser-known candidates as her campaign has lost buzz.

Read more about Amy Klobuchar’s campaign.

7: New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.

Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for The Human Rights CampaignCory Booker, New Jersey senator and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.

Cory Booker is known by half of likely Democratic primary voters, but has not been able to translate that into good polling numbers, staying stagnant at 3-4% of the vote for the duration of 2019 in Morning Consult surveys.

His support is precarious in the sense that people who like Booker also like lots of other candidates.

75% of Booker supporters would be happy with Joe Biden, 66% would be satisfied with Kamala Harris, and 50% would be happy with Beto O’Rourke or Elizabeth Warren as the nominees, according to INSIDER polling.

While Booker is broadly favourable within the field, his success will hinge on his ability to convert his favorability that stronger polling numbers and fundraising.

We moved Booker down one spot from 6th to 7th from April 30 to May 9 given he didn’t gain any ground in the polls during that time, and we’ve kept in the same spot since.

Read more about Cory Booker’s campaign.

6: Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke.

For a three-term congressman, O’Rourke impressively commanded the attention of Democrats by coming within striking distance of beating Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2018 Texas Senate race, shattering fundraising records along the way.

Half of those likely to participate in the field are aware of him, the best result for anyone not a senator or former vice president, and a testament to the energy surrounding his 2018 Senate race.

According to INSIDER polling,31% of respondents believe O’Rourke could beat Trump – the third-highest of any candidate and only below only Sen. Sanders and former VP Biden.

In the past few weeks, O’Rourke’s poll numbers have begun falling at a rapid pace despite a campaign re-launch effort and media tour. We’ve dropped him from 5th to 6th place in our ranking between May 17 and 24.

O’Rourke’s numbers in Morning Consult have dipped from 6% in late April to 4% as of last week. And in the past two months of Quinnipiac University’s polling, O’Rourke’s support has plummeted from 12% in late March to just 2% as of May 21.

Read more about Beto O’Rourke’s campaign.

5: South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Mayor Pete is having a moment. Despite low overall name recognition, he’s recently enjoyed a strong past few months in the polls and in fundraising.

The Democratic primary voters who do know him are fairly confident in his ability to beat Trump, compared to his more experienced and nationally known rivals, INSIDER polling found.

Buttigieg has enjoyed a considerable polling bump. In late April,Morning Consult has him ranked third behind Biden and Sanders at 8%, up from 0% in late February and 1% in March. He’s currently at 7% tied for fourth place.

We initially underrated Buttigieg’s chances, given the quickness of his rise and the nature of national electoral politics, but moved him up three spots ahead of Booker, Klobuchar, and Gillibrand in the May 10 version of our ranking, and one spot about O’Rourke on March 24.

While Buttigieg’s numbers have slightly dipped in Morning Consult’s polling, his sustained strong performance across multiple polls both shows he’s not a flavour-of-the-month candidate and has lots of potential room to grow when his name recognition increases.

Read more about Pete Buttigieg’s campaign.

4: California Sen. Kamala Harris.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesDemocratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).

Kamala Harris is fairly well-known for a first-term senator, and is perceived as being most able to defeat Trump in a general election out of all the senators running for president for the first time.

Harris also enjoys the greatest support among other candidates’ supporters, INSIDER polling found.

73% of Gillibrand supporters, 72% of Klobuchar supporters, 67% of Buttigieg, 76% of Castro and 67% of Hickenlooper supporters would also be satisfied with Harris as the Democratic nominee, meaning she could consolidate a lot of support when her rivals drop out.

Harris has been performing strongly in recent polling, coming in at 7% in Morning Consult and has stayed in the same position in this ranking since April 30.

Read more about Kamala Harris’ campaign.

3: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderSen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks at the NAN Conference, April 5, 2019 in New York City.

Sanders enjoys widespread name recognition among Democrats from his decades serving in Congress and his 2016 run against Hillary Clinton. He’s also established a grass-roots army of small donors that helped him lead the pack in fundraising with an $US18.2 million haul in 2019’s first quarter.

He is considered the top rival of Biden, and 37% think Sanders would beat Trump in a general election compared to 10% who think he’d lose, according to INSIDER polling.

Furthermore, INSIDER polling found that Sanders would be a satisfactory nominee for half of Biden supporters, which could seriously benefit him in case Biden’s candidacy falters.

According to Morning Consult, Sanders is supported by 19% of Democrats– down three points from April 28.

We downgraded Sanders from second to third place between June 7 and June 14 due to Warren surpassing him in three polls.

With Warren’s surge, Sanders is now in the position of having to be on the defensive early in the process, with maxed-out name recognition and sliding poll numbers.

Read more about Bernie Sanders’ campaign.

2: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderSen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks at the NAN Conference on April 5, 2019 in New York City.

Among the candidates who have not previously run for president, Warren is the most well-known and considered to be a strong contender against Trump in a general election.

Warren overlaps considerably with Sanders and Biden’s bases, with 40% of Biden and 40% of Sanders supporters also being satisfied with her as the nominee in INSIDER polling.

This puts her in a good position as a possible strong compromise choice if either or both of Biden and Sanders’ campaigns end up falling flat.

Despite her name recognition, however, INSIDER polling respondents don’t think Warren can beat Trump as easily as Biden, Sanders, Sen. Kamala Harris or Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Warren is currently in third place at 11% in Morning Consult polling and has recently become the second most-discussed candidate on cable news behind Biden, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis.

We upgraded Warren from third to second place the week of June 14 due to her overtaking Sanders for second place in a YouGov/Economist poll, a Monmouth University poll of Nevada, and a UC Berkeley/Los Angeles Times poll of California.

Read more about Elizabeth Warren’s campaign.

1: Former Vice President and Delaware Senator Joe Biden.

Biden, who announced his long-awaited presidential bid on April 25, has unparalleled name recognition among Democrats from his eight years as President Barack Obama’s vice president and 36 years in the US Senate.

Biden is also the only candidate who more than half of Democrats believe can win against Trump – according to INSIDER polling.

As of June 7, 38% of Democrats polled by Morning Consult said that Biden is their first choice out of all 24 declared candidates, an 8% boost from before his announcement.

Biden comfortably holds frontrunner status now, but his strength as a candidate will truly be put to the test at the first Democratic debates later this month.

Read more about Joe Biden’s campaign.

Read more:

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