Least Shocking Poll of the Year

USAT looks to 2020 and discovers:

On the theory that it’s never too early to launch the next campaign, the new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll has identified an overwhelming front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

It’s someone entirely new.

Literally. Not an identifiable person. Just “someone entirely new.” When that description was included on a list of possible contenders, 66% of Democrats and independents said they would be “excited” to see such a person jump in the race; just 9% thought he or she shouldn’t run. That’s an overwhelming yes-please-run score of 57 percentage points for, you know, whomever.

Because one thing is for sure:  everyone’s favorite policitian is a fantasy.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Quick Takes, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Todd says:

    The problem is, getting those on the left to agree about exactly what type of message that “someone new” should run on. It’s not really going out on a limb to predict that the 2020 Democratic primary is likely to be just as (if not more) messy and divisive as this year’s was.

    We might as well face the reality. In this country we have one party that disdains governing, but is really quite good at the practice of politics. Then on the flip side, we have a party that is arguably better at governance, but borders on incompetence when it comes to politics.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Todd: I’m not sure disenfranchising voters, gerrymandering districts, and drawing to an inside straight counts as politics Todd, tho I suppose in a broad enough definition they might fit.

  3. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: In the game of thrones, you win or you die.

  4. Todd says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I’m not sure disenfranchising voters, gerrymandering districts …

    Add to this things like not holding hearings for an open Supreme Court seat, and the fact that Republicans paid almost no price at all at the polls shows just how good at politics they are … and/or how incompetent their opposition is.

    It’s also a sign of their skill that they so often find a way to win at times when by any rational measure, they shouldn’t have much of a chance. And again on the flip side, how often Democrats find a way to lose when virtually everything should be in their favor.

  5. Dave Schuler says:

    @Todd:

    In this country we have one party that disdains governing, but is really quite good at the practice of politics. Then on the flip side, we have a party that is arguably better at governance, but borders on incompetence when it comes to politics.

    Have you ever been to Illinois?

  6. EddieInCA says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    Have you ever been to Illinois?

    i have. And I’ve been to Kansas and Louisiana as well. I’ll take Illinois any day.

    Seriously… Oregon, California, Washington State, New York, Illinois…

    OR….

    Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, and Missouri.

  7. Jen says:

    I find this “someone entirely new” both idiotic and disappointing.

    Let’s see how the first neophyte with zero legislative experience goes before we go duplicating that particular mistake. I get that people are discouraged and disappointed, but governing is not a cakewalk, and experience actually does matter.

  8. DrDaveT says:

    @Jen:

    Let’s see how the first neophyte with zero legislative experience goes before we go duplicating that particular mistake.

    I interpreted “someone entirely new” somewhat less literally — as in, Barack Obama in 2008 would have qualified. Functionally, to me it sounds like a request for “not Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Tim Kaine, Martin O’Malley, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, or Jerry Brown.

  9. al-Ameda says:

    @Todd:

    Add to this things like not holding hearings for an open Supreme Court seat, and the fact that Republicans paid almost no price at all at the polls shows just how good at politics they are … and/or how incompetent their opposition is.

    …. Exactly right.

    @Dave Schuler:
    @EddieInCA:
    I’ll take Washington, Oregon or California over any Red State, and it’s not close.

  10. James Pearce says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, and Missouri.

    @al-Ameda:

    I’ll take Washington, Oregon or California over any Red State, and it’s not close.

    While I understand where you’re coming from, I really wish liberals would think differently on this topic.

    Kansas, Texas, and Missouri are really cool places that should not be abandoned. Me personally, I’d take Texas over Oregon any day; better weather, better food, way more cultural and ethnic diversity. (Portland, OR and Seattle, WA are two of the whitest cities in the country, which is not something you can say of Tupelo or Hattiesburg or even Dallas.)

    We could be “colonizing” and “settling” fly-over country, but we’d rather retreat to our coastal enclaves and denigrate it from a distance?

    After Donald Trump’s election, I have to ask: What’s it going to take to abandon that crap? When can we start building a liberalism that can survive crossing an interstate border?

  11. al-Ameda says:

    After Donald Trump’s election, I have to ask: What’s it going to take to abandon that crap? When can we start building a liberalism that can survive crossing an interstate border?

    It’s amazing that ‘liberalism’ got 3 million more votes than than the people who regularly mock and hold in contempt liberals, isn’t it?

    Look, yes, if I’ve got to live and work somewhere, from a geographical, climate, and diversity (yeah, I know, it’s undesirable now) standpoint I’ll still take California, Oregon, and Washington over any Red State. That said there are big swatches within WA, OR and CA that are basically Red States, and for me, are less desirable to live in because of politics, attitudes toward education and social issues.

    Texas? I know Texas – half of my family is from Texas and I have a lot of relatives who live there now. It’s big and a blanket statement just won’t do justice. I like Austin, don’t care for Dallas, San Antonio is okay, and El Paso is fine by me. But …. Texas politics are too far out there for me.

    Same goes with Kansas, I’ve got relatives there too. I like Lawrence, Wichita not so much. But … Kansas politics? Please, even too far out there for many Texans.

    What I’m getting too is that this is a 2 way street. I hear many White conservatives say that they feel disrespected by liberals on both coasts, yet those same people have had an enduring contempt and disrespect for liberals that predates the current electoral result.

    Most of my family and extended family is very conservative, I’ve listened to their general discontent for years. Now they, and a significant minority of the voters, have elected an administration that is aiming to tear it down, and frankly I’m in no mood to further understand why these people hold liberals like me – who work hard, pay a lot of taxes, and value science and education – in contempt.

  12. James Pearce says:

    @al-Ameda:

    It’s amazing that ‘liberalism’ got 3 million more votes than than the people who regularly mock and hold in contempt liberals, isn’t it?

    I have made a conscious decision to avoid being overly impressed by the meaningless and the symbolic. I mean, I can count. I can see that Hillary got 3 million more votes than Donald Trump.

    This does not change the fact that she will never be president, so I don’t see why I should take comfort from losing so gloriously.

    That said there are big swatches within WA, OR and CA that are basically Red States, and for me, are less desirable to live in because of politics, attitudes toward education and social issues.

    Sure, I get that. But this isn’t exactly a very pioneering attitude, is it? A pioneer goes into an unfamiliar hostile place, then works their ass off to make it more hospitable, not only for themselves but for the people who come after.

    The instinct for modern day liberals is to retreat to a safe space, an enclave where they have strength in numbers (which, as seen in this election, can be illusory) and where they don’t have to do much heavy lifting.

    Is it any wonder that the muscles have atrophied and we’re so easily pushed around? We’ve become Eloi, plumped up for the Morlocks supper.

  13. @James Pearce:

    I have made a conscious decision to avoid being overly impressed by the meaningless and the symbolic. I mean, I can count. I can see that Hillary got 3 million more votes than Donald Trump.

    This does not change the fact that she will never be president, so I don’t see why I should take comfort from losing so gloriously.

    The thing about the 3 million is not to revel in a glorious defeat, nor to fantasize about a President HRC. It is to to understand the context of the loss, espcially those assessments that make it sound as if “liberals” (and I use the terms very loosely here) suffered a massive defeat that requires a total rethinking of their approach to everything (which is how a lot of people seem to be talking).

    It is a number that should provide some perspective.

  14. barbintheboonies says:

    @James Pearce: You are so right, just bashing the states in red only alienates them further. If we were inclusive we may have had a better result. I like all our states. Each have a good and a bad element. People have different preferences as to where they wish to live. Some live in places just for economics. I myself hate crowded places to live, but love to go to the city once in a while to excite in the hustle and bustle. The food is good too. Its nice when people from the cities go into the country for a nice quiet break also. This is why so many who can afford it have second homes. You people here are well traveled people, and you know you have met many rural people, you know they are not all bad. Just like rural people know many city people are not all bad. We get these messages from the media. They like to exploit people by only showing the bad sides of everyone. That`s how they get ratings, at our expense.

  15. Kylopod says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    assessments that make it sound as if “liberals” (and I use the terms very loosely here) suffered a massive defeat that requires a total rethinking of their approach to everything (which is how a lot of people seem to be talking).

    I agree, but I should note that it isn’t even a question of who won more votes. In 2004 Bush unquestionably won both the popular and electoral vote–but far too narrowly to claim a “mandate” as he did.

    The fact is that there’s a tendency in a lot of post-election analysis to make sweeping observations about the electorate based simply on who ended up in the White House, even if it was based on tiny fluctuations in voter behavior. As I pointed out last week, a 1% increase in Democratic turnout in the crucial states of Penn., Wisconsin and Michigan would have handed Hillary the presidency. And if that had happened, few would be talking about the Dems’ problems with the white working class; the focus would immediately fall on how the GOP blew a winnable election by nominating such an awful candidate and there would be endless chatter about their problems with minorities and women (similar to four years ago after Obama’s decisive but relatively narrow victory over Romney). But the overall contours of the electorate would be essentially identical to what they are now. Pundits have this need to craft grand narratives about elections after the fact no matter how close they are, and the winning party’s weaknesses are forgotten as if they never existed.

  16. James Pearce says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    It is a number that should provide some perspective.

    I agree. I just don’t think the perspective should be that there is some kind of ideological/electoral strength or advantage that could prevail if it were properly tapped or exploited.

    I see an election where the Dem gets 3 million extra votes and the Republican still wins as an inherent, and obvious, sign of Dem-slash-liberal weakness. That said, I don’t think the weakness is ideological, per se. I just think liberals have just gotten lazy and complacent, and in some cases, rather petty.

  17. Guarneri says:

    Discussions such as these that focus on state boundaries rather than things such as urban vs suburban vs rural are useless.