PHILADELPHIA – Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are two of the most ideologically aligned candidates in the Democratic primary – two leftist populists who denounce a "rigged" economic system.
But the 1% enemy companions have surprisingly different support bases.
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Poll after poll, Sanders appeals to low-income and less educated people. Warren defeats Sanders among the postgraduate graduates. Sanders works best with men, Warren with women. Younger people who vote less often are more often in the Sanders camp; older people who follow politics closely generally prefer Warren.
Sanders also convinced more African Americans than Warren: he got a bigger share of Black voters' support than any other running contender, except Joe Biden, according to the latest Morning Consult polls.
For progressive activists meeting this week in Philadelphia at Netroots Nation's annual conference, it is both promising and worrying that the two leading left-wing primary leaders are attracting so many different fans. This demonstrates that a progressive economic message may excite different parts of the electorate, but it also means that Sanders and Warren will likely have to broaden their bases to win the Democratic nomination.
In other words, if their constituents could magically align behind one or the other, the chances of a Democratic candidate to the left of the ideological spectrum would increase dramatically. .
The fact that Warren and Sanders' bases do not overlap perfectly has not attracted much public attention, but it is something that is of great concern to the minds of their collaborators and allies.
"This shows that the media do not base their perceptions on publicly available data," said Ari Rabin-Havt, cabinet director at the Sanders campaign. "I think people are developing too simplistic political conceptions that people living in the real world think the same thing as the elite media in California and New York."
It is no coincidence that Sanders voters were flocking to Warren, or vice versa, if one of them left the race and endorsed the other. According to Morning to Consult, Reuters-Ipsos polls and Washington Post-ABC News, more Sanders supporters are citing Biden as a second choice than Warren – and a higher percentage of Warren voters choose Kamala Harris as their number 2 rather than Sanders, according to recent polls.
Wes Bode, a retired entrepreneur from the first caucus in the state of Iowa, illustrates this point: he said that he liked the fact that Sanders had "new ideas," such as free classes at the university, and that he recently attended one of its public meetings. in the state. But he also likes Biden, because he is "for the worker".
It may seem unusual that a voter's first choice for 2020 is the two candidates that best represent the opposite poles of the Democratic Party. But a person like Bode is actually more common than someone like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose favorites are Sanders and Warren.
For Sanders, the need to develop his base is a problem that dates back to his 2016 run. He failed to win the nomination that year largely because he was unable to win the older voters, especially older color voters.
"Two places where Bernie has always struggled are elderly voters and women up to a certain point," said Mark Longabaugh, one of Sanders' leading strategists in 2016. "Warren is clearly a democrat and presents itself as a democrat in the party are more attracted to it – while Bernie has deliberately asked to be re-elected as an independent and identifies as an independent, and appeals to those who look inside the Democratic Party and think that it is not their problem. "
During the 2020 campaign, Sanders' advisors acknowledged that he needed more appeal to older voters. In addition, he has recently organized in the first states more intimate events that tend to attract more seniors than his gatherings. His team is also working to expand the primary electorate by bringing in casual voters.
Warren, meanwhile, works hard to win the support of African Americans. Her allies claim that her performance at events such as Al Sharpton's National Action Network convention and the She the People conference shows that she has room to grow among black voters.
"If you were looking to buy a rising stock, you would look at future market share and strong fundamentals indicators," said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change campaign committee, which supports Warren. "Elizabeth Warren has always communicated on a visceral level with a black audience … getting standing ovations after associating her inspiring projects with her personal story of growing struggle in poverty in Oklahoma and being a single mother in Texas. "
Several Democratic members said they believed that Warren had the ability to broaden his base to include black women in particular.
"She impressed 2,000 female high-level women activists in [our conference]Said Aimée Allison, founder of Elle le peuple. "Elizabeth Warren has deepened, refined and made racial justice a fundamental part of her policy."
A review of their survey numbers shows how distinct Sanders' support groups are from Warren.
22% of Democratic primary voters earning less than $ 50,000 a year are in favor of Sanders, compared to 12% in Warren, based on an average of the last four weeks of the Morning Consult survey. Of those who do not have a university degree, 22% are behind Sanders; 10 percent back Warren.
About the same percentage of electors with a bachelor's degree – 16% and 15% respectively – are in favor of Sanders and Warren. But among graduate graduates, 12% are for Sanders and 19% are for Warren.
A similar division is based on age, gender and interest in politics. Sanders wins more than a third of 18-29 year olds, while Warren gets 11%. Warren is supported by 13% of people aged 30 to 44, 12% of those aged 45 to 54, and 13% of those aged 55 to 64 and 65 and over. Sanders' support diminishes with the age of voters: it is supported by 25% of those aged 30 to 44, 17% of those aged 45 to 54, and 12% of those aged 55 to 64. and 8% of people aged 65 and over.
Twenty percent of men support Sanders and 11 percent support Warren; 18% of the women are behind Sanders and 14% are behind Warren.
Warren also succeeds better among voters "extremely interested" in politics (winning 17% of them), while Sanders is the strongest among those "not at all interested" (26%).
As for black voters, 19% are behind Sanders, while 9% support Warren.
With Biden still at the top of most polling stations, even after a largely failed performance in the first Democratic debate, some progressives still worry that Warren and Sanders divide the left and hand over the nomination to the former vice president.
"There's a lot of time left in this campaign," said Sean McElwee, co-founder of the liberal think tank Data for Progress. "But one thing is clear: it's very important for the left to make sure not to divide the pitch and allow someone like Joe Biden to be the candidate."
Steven Shepard contributed to this report.