U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is the favorite Democratic presidential candidate of LGBTQ voters, according to a new poll from YouGov Blue and Out magazine, a sister publication of The Advocate.
Thirty-one percent of respondents said they would vote for the Massachusetts senator in their state's primary if they if they had to choose today, the highest percentage received by any of the 17 candidates in the poll, released Monday. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont was second with 18 percent, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden with 16 percent and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the only openly gay candidate in the race, with 14 percent. No one else was in double digits.
When respondents were asked which candidate or candidates they would consider voting for, so they could choose multiple presidential hopefuls, 61 percent said Warren was on their list. Again, she led the field. Sanders was second with 45 percent, followed by Buttigieg with 39 percent, Biden with 36 percent, and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California with 31 percent. All the other candidates were below 20 percent.
Asked who they would absolutely not consider voting for, 47 percent of respondents said U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, not surprising given her anti-LGBTQ remarks of some years ago, although she has said she no longer holds those views. Self-help author Marianne Williamson received the same percentage; it has been reported that she implied AIDS could be cured by positive thinking, but she called those reports "vicious smears." Only 14 percent said they would not consider voting for Warren, the lowest percentage for any candidate, and 17 percent said they would not consider voting for Buttigieg.
Warren also got high marks for electability, even though some pundits have called her too far left to win the general election. Fifty-three percent said she could beat Donald Trump in 2020. The more centrist Biden was next with 52 percent (again, respondents could choose more than one candidate), while Sanders was named by 46 percent, Buttigieg by 29 percent, and Harris by 26 percent, with everyone else polling at less than 20 percent.
On how favorably or unfavorably they view each candidate, 53 percent said they feel very favorably about Warren, while 23 percent said they view her somewhat favorably. Sanders had 40 percent in the very favorable column and 25 percent in somewhat favorable; Buttigieg had 34 percent and 23 percent, respectively; Biden 24 percent and 25 percent; and Harris 23 percent and 33 percent.
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii had the highest percentage, 24 percent, in the very unfavorable column. Fourteen percent said they view her somewhat unfavorably. Self-help author Marianne Williamson had similar numbers, 23 percent very unfavorable and 15 percent somewhat unfavorable. Biden, even though he's been considered the front-runner in general, was viewed very unfavorably by 18 percent of voters and somewhat unfavorably by 15 percent.
Warren's high ratings may be due to the fact that the voters surveyed tend to be more liberal than Democrats in general, according to YouGov Blue, which is the Democratic- and progressive-focused division of research firm YouGov. "Seventy-seven percent of LGBTQ+ Democratic primary voters identified in our survey as very or somewhat liberal, approximately 20 percentage points higher than the percentage of Democratic primary voters overall who identify as very or somewhat liberal in our surveys," Alissa Stollwerk, vice president of YouGov Blue, said in a statement to Out.
The respondents also showed high enthusiasm about the election and determination to get rid of Trump. Eighty-nine percent said they strongly disapprove of his performance as president, and the same percentage said he should be impeached and removed from office.
When asked about the most important issues facing the U.S. today, with the option to pick up to five, 66 percent of those surveyed said health care policy, and 59 percent said health care and the environment. Everything else ranked much lower. On a question about the most important LGBTQ issues, 73 percent said violence against transgender people, 66 percent picked nondiscrimination protections, 59 percent LGBTQ youth homelessness, 58 percent ensuring that same-sex couples have the right to adopt, and 56 percent banning conversion therapy.
The poll was conducted online November 11-19 and received responses from 816 likely voters who identify as LGBTQ. The timing meant that two recently declared candidates, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, were not included. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.7 percentage points.