Are Democratic Voters Truly Divided by Ideology?

Survey results suggests their views and priorities are far more alike than different, despite labels like moderate or progressive, centrist or liberal.

Comments: 94

  1. The great debate dividing Democrats and their independent fellow travelers is not so much on individual issues but one which asks “Do we confront the forces which have shaped our nation since the election of Ronald Reagan: globalization, automation, the concentration of wealth and therefore power into the hands of a tiny sliver of the population and the decline of the middle class or do we accept these things as irreversible and do what we can to soften the worst effects on our people and our planet? It’s no surprise that young people, facing an increasingly bleak future would embrace candidates who say essentially, Yes we can change this and here’s how. It’s also not surprising that older people who have more to lose prefer candidates who say “let’s get back to normal and then move forward.” If Bernie Sanders wins the nomination he is going to have to convince moderates that he isn’t Che Guevara with a Brooklyn accent. If Joe Biden wins he is going to have to convince the activists that he too sees a path to a better future. The same goes for any of the other candidates.

  2. @Brooklyncowgirl I agree with you, and Bernie certainly isn't my first choice. I guess I am a bit more hopeful than you are, though. I lived in DC from early 2018 to mid-2019, and, more than once, I unexpectedly stumbled onto a Bernie stump-speech outside of the Senate building. Each time, his audience was largely made up of people who the D's have been losing as part of their base (people who strongly support labor but have not moved towards more progressive policy decisions on social issues like choice or LGBTQ+ rights). I just hope that if Bernie doesn't win the nomination, he campaigns harder for the nominee than he did for Hillary. Still haven't forgiven him for that, but I might if he does the right thing this time around.

  3. the missing question should be beating Donald Trump not impeach Donald Trump. I suspect that would be number one on every list.

  4. @tom Yeah I find this confusing since if the Democratic candidate won, it wouldn't matter as much if Trump were impeached, he'd be out of office.

  5. We're toast, peeps - Toast! Even among so-called Progressives a "big enviro program" ranks 16th! Sayonara, homo sapiens! Darn it, we had so much potential…

  6. @Miss Anne Thrope But for Pete Buttigieg it's in his top 5, which is why he has my vote.

  7. There was something wrong with the way this was done either in the way you surveyed or in the way you organized the result. I say this because multiple articles and discussion within the primary race treat health care as a top issue. It is incredulous that Sanders and Warren supporters would place the health care issue item as number 11 in priority. Also, the list of issues really breaks up a variety of immigration concerns that all seem to get high prioritization. It caused me to wonder about how people were contextualizing as they responded to it.

  8. @Brian: This poll chose the most polarizing way possible to measure support for health care reform: asking about "Medicare for all." I suspect that "improve healthcare coverage," would have placed significantly higher.

  9. @Cathy B: same thing for climate change. There was no question specifically on climate change, just "green new deal" and "big environmental program" which are nebulous, poorly defined concepts. It is likely that if simply the most commonly used and understood term"climate change" were used, it would have ranked higher.

  10. @Cathy B it’s already been improved by Obama-care. Don’t all Democrats agree on that?

  11. The authors are challenging conventional wisdom, categorization, article titles--and they are right to do so. Some of the differences we think "we see," looking deeper are not really so substantial. We could use more reporting like this, and on more topics. Less rote framing, more reflection on what is really happening when covering a story, and more routine questioning about conventional thinking. Further, I wonder to what degree the findings of this study would be different if conservatives and independents were included? Maybe wouldn't change things, again, as much as we think. Or at least for some issues. If actually true, in contrast to two articles in yesterday's Times, maybe we're not truly as polarized as seems so obvious. I do see, however, from the comments, that the wording of questions needs to be carefully considered.

  12. Ok. so the focus of the survey was on policies currently being debated. Doesn't that say so much about our country when only 3 of the 41 policies have anything to do with climate emergency and one of them is more oil and gas drilling? People! Wake up!

  13. “Paired by pundits into lanes..” And why? Because pundits (I think we are talking about, among others, NYT political writers, columnists and analysts) do their information gathering on Twitter. Plain folks know the Twitter-verse isnt the real world. If anything, this piece makes the case that pundits (again, writers in the news business) are fake news. Thank you!

  14. The GOP, as we are finding out clearly via the impeachment trial of Pres. Trump, is corrupt through and through. One of their corrupt practices- from Roger Stone to Steve Bannon to James Comey to Mitch McConnell to Kevin McCarthy to Donald Trump, is the use of intel ops against Dems: Divide, discredit, disrupt, degrade. Destroy. Its why they keep burglarizing the DNC, "investigating" likely candidates, and above all dividing the Dems against each other, smearing them, and running the Roy Cohn "big lie" disinformation op...because the Dems let it work even though they aren't really divided. "It is a partisan vehicle, as admitted by the House Republican majority leader, Mr. McCarthy, to drive down Clinton's poll numbers. https://www.cnn.com/2015/10/14/politics/hillary-clinton-benghazi-committee/index.html

  15. They want everything free

  16. @Nycdweller Particularly troublesome is eliminating student debt. Both Warren and Sanders and Pete let the colleges off the hook. If anyone pays to eliminate student it should be the colleges. Of course Warren earned $500k per year teaching one course per semester.

  17. It’s concerning that Commentors on this piece are so fatalistic. In fact, it is clear they LIKE it! And they WANT OTHERS to like it. Aside from the odd, owly-faced sixteen year old girl you see on the cover of all the magazines, most kids I know think there’s never been a better time to be young. Big messes to clean up when they take over? Yup! I have faith we will all live well past AOCs twelve year deadline and see these newly productive young adults do the right thing, not wring their hands over predictions that are not going to come to pass. Witnessing that particular fail will be part of their growing up process.

  18. @skyfiber, so you're assuming everyone likes climate disasters. Strange comment. I didn't enjoy the California wildfires. I suspect you didn't enjoy the Australian brushfires. The IPCC's climate reports are based on extensive modeling, not guesses. We're already in the middle of a climate crisis, although no one is predicting that everyone will die. Why does Australia have so many climate deniers? The only thing that connects us is the Murdoch news empire.

  19. Something about the choice of questions, and how they were asked make me question the relevance of this survey. The Democracy Fund's board, staff, advisors, and grantees include Republicans, Democrats, and Independents... all probably those status quo protecting moderates... This reminded me of a 2016 Harper's article by Thomas Franks, after having meticulously examined Washington Post reporting on Bernie Sanders. "As we shall see, for the sort of people who write and edit the opinion pages of the Post, there was something deeply threatening about Sanders and his political views. He seems to have represented something horrifying, something that could not be spoken of directly but that clearly needed to be suppressed." ..."Think of all the grand ideas that flicker in the background of the Sanders-denouncing stories I have just recounted. There is the admiration for consensus, the worship of pragmatism and bipartisanship, the contempt for populist outcry, the repeated equating of dissent with partisan disloyalty." During this primary season, the reporting by the NYT and other Establishment media on Sanders and his ideas, have much the same slant. Bernie Sanders' integrity, bold ideas, vision and courage way outshine the media's attempt to marginalize him and his ideas. A Future To Believe In President Sanders 2020

  20. @Lucy Cooke The American people will never vote for a real socialist for President.

  21. We've been given a brief overview of methodology and been told that it revealed candidates priorities. That isn't good enough. If you ask about a big technology solution for climate change, you get a "sure" answer. If you ask whether a trillion dollar attack on climate change funded by polluting industry that includes closing coal burning should be launched within a year of office, you will get nays and yeses. It should also be obvious that if healthcare doesn't rate as a top priority in this survey while at the same time most candidates are actively campaigning on health care (which includes drug costs) then this survey isn't capturing what it claims to capture. Finally, the 500 lb gorilla in the room is ignored: fundamental tax revision to claw back some of the untaxed wealth the super rich have unjustly pocketed. That question alone separates real progressives from the Establishment Democrats.

  22. What is the difference between “Medicare for all” and “ providing government run health insurance to Americans” ? 

  23. @Alex - a public option would also be government run health insurance. It doesn't have to be all or nothing

  24. It's amazing that "Nominate next supreme court justice" didn't show up in the top 20. Not a good sign that democratic voters aren't able to play the long game.

  25. @Angmar Bokanberry RBG will likely die or retire in the next few months and, after being told so many times that the Biden rule doesn't actually apply, Trump will nominate her replacement and the Senate will confirm in the days before the election.

  26. @James, that sounds like you're engaging in wishful thinking. I think RBG will outlive Trump.

  27. @SandraH. From your keyboard to God’s ears

  28. Wow, these are the priorities for Democrats in 2020? Nothing about growth in wages and continued economic growth; nothing about solving the homeless problems plaguing many Democratic-leaning urban centers; nothing about policies that encourage home ownership. Trump has the benefit of the status quo, which for most is quite good. Threatening to upend the known with a risky, but theoretically better system may trigger voter risk aversion.

  29. Far from serving as the "paper of record," I fear the NYT's Editorial Board now sees the paper's primary function, their raison d'etra, as being the chief misinformation machine on what's going on with the Democratic electorate as it relates to primary voting. The reason WHY they would perceive this to be their mission in life I think should be obvious to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention. (Hint: He who shall not be named.) So, are Democratic voters truly divided by ideology? Yup.

  30. Above all priorities that bring me to vote (supreme court, healthcare, environment, prosperity, diplomacy) stands the issue of children separated at the border from their families. It saddens me that this is not understood across the board. I am noting that respondents aligned with the women in the race gave this the lowest priority. In the case of Senator Klobuchar's followers, it's the 8th priority. Their #1 issue is... maternity leave. Are we sure there was no implicit bias in this survey? This doesn't make sense.

  31. The "top issues" to me seem like a miss. Many of my top issues, such as fighting climate change (beyond a vague and probably unworkable 'Green New Deal') were not included. Nothing about avoiding foreign conflicts, pulling soldiers out of the Middle East, or fair trade. Nothing about standing up to China. But a lot of frivolous stuff like the public display of the Ten Commandments and multiple questions on topics I don't care about, like guns, and quite a few on immigration, which is also not a top priority for me.

  32. It's so disheartening to see so this election shaping into a two old white men show, as expected, Don't get me wrong, old white men are fine but here we are as a country, broken and dysfunctional and they've been running the show all along. Warren and Sanders share so ideas, why is it that Bernie and his base can rally while a women with a similar message and clearer plans is slipping in the poles. I will stand with Warren and add my voice to a candidate that I think will be the best thing for our country. To be fare, I would also sign up for the old white men if that's where we land. I've seen so many other say this but first we need to stand for the person we believe in, even if it's a woman. We have to stop telling ourselves and those around us that a woman can't win and one just might.

  33. @Jaime if Bernie got out of the way, Warren would have a better chance. So would Democrat’s overall. See that happening?

  34. First of all, a 150,000 sample population is big. So the results of this survey are worth studying. If you start digging deeper into the data set, you can see how these candidates are indeed attracting different voter blocks. The trend that pops out to me the most is: Buttigieg's supporters prioritize environmental policy over all the other candidate's. With as much press coverage and debate time we've seen lately, it's interesting how low environmental policy ranks for Warren, Sanders, and Biden supporters. Buttigieg's supporters also seem to lean more fiscally conservative/centrist. Klobuchar definitely has more conservative voters than all the other candidates. In fact, this data makes me suspect that she may even have some disgruntled republican-leaning voters among her supporters. The article also mentions a low sample size for Klobuchar. So her outlying data is probably reflecting this. Other observations: Biden's data show a group of conservative leaning voters on fiscal (possibly) and drug policy. He also has a block of gun legislation supporters. But nothing really pops out as unique with his supporters. Sanders, on the other hand, has groups of pro-gun supporters, Dreamer supporters, as well as (obviously) a large group of more socialist-leaning supporters when you look at the healthcare and Universal Job Guarantee data. Warren's data suggests she may have more support from women voters as well as immigrant/pro-immigration voters.

  35. What. Took. You. So. Long? Given your other wall to wall "divided Democrats" coverage, this article belongs on the front page. And keep it there for a while.

  36. Voters (including Democrats) are flooded with so much "information" now, that their choice for a nominee will hinge entirely on who they think can beat Trump---not which candidate comes closest to their views on the "issues". That's why it's so important to select a nominee who will be least harmed by Trump's attacks on them. Trump successfully dampened turnout in 2016 by defining Hillary as "establishment" and "corrupt". This was easy given Hillary's record, her Wall St. speaking engagements, and with a few inflated claims about "her emails"--a minor mistake. The GOP, aided by the media, uses false equivalency to suppress hope, & thus voting. Joe Biden, even if you like him, has the same record as Hillary (supporting Iraq War, NAFTA and other "trade" deals which have devastated the Midwest, bankruptcy and crime bills,... ) that clearly make him "establishment". The Hunter Biden story, while there is nothing illegal about it, is the kind of corruption that infuriates millions of people. Trump will have no problem getting millions of potentially Democratic voters to stay home by labeling Biden as he did Hillary. A nominee who can defeat Trump will need to run as an "outsider" who isn't "compromised"--someone with consistency as an opponent of the "establishment". And they need to be completely free of the APPEARANCE of corruption, in order to render the GOP's false equivalency attacks minimally harmful. Sanders is this likely candidate. If not him, then Warren.

  37. @Peck, there will be a billion dollars spent to frame any Democratic candidate as corrupt. Bernie will be vulnerable because of his wife, who was cleared in 2018 after an investigation of a land deal. But Biden's son was cleared of wrongdoing too, and both got their jobs because of their relative's position. The Trump team has to dilute the impact of Trump's massive corruption, so Democrats need to be prepared for these attacks. If a candidate is unassailable, they'll still make something up.

  38. Bernie helped give us Trump when his fans stayed home. And Hilary was actively hated by many voters in her own party. I don’t think any of the current candidates are as viscerally loathed as Hilary often was. In 2020 the candidate that generates that kind of anger is Trump. I think the biggest danger is a candidate whose economic policies really scare moderate Republicans to the extent that they hold their noses and vote for Trump or sit the race out. There is of course a chance that too moderate a candidate will drive Bernie fans away but that is less concerning because they are congregated in already blue states or blue urban areas in red states and those are not the places we need the votes to win the electoral college. Also, Bernie has a horrible TV personality. He comes across as always angry and slightly unhinged.

  39. A little paralysis through analysis by the gang at the Upshot desk. Basically the two parties are the same. They have a wide range of views but agree on some major points thus allegiance to a party. The trick to get elected is to win over the people who are least dogmatic republican or democrat or even outright independents. Trump successfully demagogued a range of issues middle America who elects presidents in the electoral college were interested in like blue collar job loses, immigration and war while Hillary doubled down on identity/social engineering obsession and Neo con views on other issues that middle America was either against or did not need or were not pressing.

  40. I’m wondering how these 41 issues were selected to begin with. My top priority (economic inequality) is not listed or perhaps represented as ‘minimum wage’. Elizabeth Warren says her top priory is Corruption (which is perhaps very close to economic inequality), but it does not appear in the list at all.

  41. The fact that there was no question regarding wealth inequality, increasing taxes on billionaires, campaign finance, or corruption is crazy. Those are major issues the progressive candidates are campaigning on. Many of these questions are framed in a Republican context as stopping or preventing their worst policies, not in the context of the positive forward agenda progressives want. The total lack of a question on wealth inequality is a huge omission, and raising taxes above $250k is not at all the same as raising taxes over $500 Million and equaling capital gains and wage rates...perhaps the study authors didn't want to know the answers to those questions.

  42. This was an easy article NOT to read. Why? The only issue that matters to me is the ability to beat the Crook-in-Chief. I do not care about anything else. Vote Mike 2020.

  43. @FormerCapitolHillGuy Really? The only issue that mattered to many Trump voters in 2016 was to get Trump elected (or to keep Hillary out). Look what we got. Now ponder if your thinking about the 2020 election is all that much different and will produce all that much different results. Voting decisions require more than a singular focus.

  44. I was heartened to read your concluding paragraph suggesting that Democrats are aligned on the issue that government has an important role to play in the lives of Americans.... but am disheartened that they do not make this case explicitly to the American voters. Democrats need to explain to voters that government regulations, the bugaboo of the GOP, result in clean air, clean water, safe and manageable working conditions, and an assurance that there will be health care and retirement funds available. Towns in New England do an effective job of explaining to taxpayers where every dollar goes and why every ordinance is important and how the local government helps them. If voters do not appreciate what government is doing FOR them, they are more likely to buy into the GOP's line that government is doing something TO them...

  45. Health care and Medicare for All is the number issue for me. I am skeptical that this didn't register as being of great importance in this survey.

  46. @Eugene Debs maybe because survey respondents included a high % of individuals with employer-based or private insurance. Support for Bernie’s UN-defined and greatly expanded “Medicare for all” plummets when the question includes that. Bernie’s people love it; but Bernie’s people love Bernie.

  47. I am very liberal and support most of Bernie’s policy positions but I’m also a pragmatist. I know the country is not ready for such a dramatic change. I’m supporting Biden because the most important thing to me right now is removing trump and restoring our democratic values! While most democrats might agree on most of these issues, Independents are more moderate and we need their votes in states like Pennsylvania and Michigan.

  48. No, the big divide is between the mass of Democratic voters and the party’s elite wing, who view “progressive” policies as somehow inimical to electoral success, and are forever creating divisions - with the assistance of friendly Beltway media- such as “centrist”, “moderate”, and the like. As if there is some mysterious cache of Demo voters who are anxious about “too-progressive” policy positions amongst the candidates, and are ready to embrace wholeheartedly that candidate boosted by the party elite who can play nice with Republican or that elusive “independent” demographic. Which is why Joe Biden is still a viable candidate, despite the fact that 76% of Democrats are looking elsewhere. 2016 redux?

  49. @vic_bold_II, I guess I must belong to the elite wing in spite of my less-than-elite income. If only. I think the difference is not in the goals--most Democrats agree on those--as in how we reach them. I believe that the quickest way to achieve Medicare for All is a public option. I believe the most viable candidate is one who can appeal to so-called soft Trump voters, who include moderate Republicans and moderates. There is no hidden cache of young hitherto unmotivated voters who are going to suddenly emerge this election. The youth vote in California, New York and Massachusetts is much bigger than in the Midwestern swing states, where the population is older. The Democratic candidate has to appeal to older voters in these states, or he/she will lose the election. It's always very hard to defeat an incumbent president, so there won't be any margin for error. The winning candidate will have to turn out African American voters in the numbers Obama did because these voters are the base. He or she will also have to win in some purple and red districts in swing states. Read Rick Wilson's book "Running Against the Devil." It's a blueprint on how to beat Trump. We can do it as long as we make the election a referendum on Trump, not Medicare for All or free college tuition. Once elected, with Democratic majorities in both houses, sign whatever bills the Democratic Congress can pass. You have slightly over a year before House members begin to get worried about 2022.

  50. This does not surprise me since I've believed all along that those labels were created by the media to help them structure their reporting. It's akin to taking a group that identifies 'blue' as their favorite color, then segmenting them into 'light blue', robin egg'. 'flag', and 'navy.' The nuances do exist, but that doesn't mean any of us blue lovers would choose any shade of green over our least favorite shade of blue. So please don't try to make me feel isolated from my fellow blue lovers just to bulk up your articles.

  51. You know if we don’t make Climate Change number 1 none of this matters why is this not a priority

  52. I agree with other commenters, that the 41 questions approach did not seem a great way to parse the differences in the groups supporting individual candidates. I think we should use a different approach in candidate selection. First, have voters choose a package of policies for critical issues and then allow each candidate try to convince us that we should select her or him to as the best person to get them implemented.

  53. How on earth is Eliminate Estate Tax on the list and not the reverse. The estate tax is literally the single most moral form of taxation imaginable. That is: there is literally NO reason someone should inherit wealth. No productive reason No moral reason No rational reason No economic reason No social reason That money should go towards funding truly equal education, a comprehensive health insurance plan, and a UBI for all people. NOT towards children that did nothing to earn it. If you believe that you ought to pay for what you get, the estate tax is not optional.

  54. @J c "That money should.... NOT [go] towards children that did nothing to earn it." Therefore, it's equally immoral for someone to give money to their adult children while they're still living, correct?

  55. One of the drivers of society is the desire to provide for children. People strive not only to provide for children and spouses while they are alive but also after they are dead. Single Parents with minor children, for example, have very legitimate concerns about estate taxes leaving their families in economic distress. Those are a minority and loopholes for such situations could be created though.

  56. Perhaps all money, at every stage of life, should be handed over to the government to disperse as it sees fit. Yeah, that sounds good.

  57. Lots of questions re: methedology choices here. Frankly, even if they don't say it, I suspect the only non-negotiable issue for those who are likely to actually vote for the Democratic candidate is no second term for Trump. The two major issues are really (1) making sure Democrats who show up to the polls aren't illegally turned away and/or have their votes thrown out and (2) getting former Republicans who are disgusted with Trump to vote D rather than stay home or engage in a protest vote.

  58. I agree. I think that there are a lot of moderate Republicans who dislike Trump and if they turn out and vote Democrat that will make the difference. I think Sanders will keep them at home. I think most of the other candidates have a reasonable chance of getting them to the polls. So then the question becomes which candidate other than Sanders will Sanders voters turn out for.

  59. Ask questions this way, and you’ll get even more unanimity (and starker contrast with radicals). In order of importance: #1: Favor more support for the middle class. You either do, or you don’t. #2: Favor more protection for the environment, from streams to the planet. You either do, or you don’t. #3: Favor limiting gun violence. You either do, or you don’t. #4: Favor an immigration policy that recognizes the suffering we’ve caused Hispanic citizens of the Americas with our drug trade and gun exports. You either do, or you don’t. #5: Support Roe v Wade. You either do or you don’t. #6: Get rid of Trump. Like sunup, it’s going to happen. No need to make it a priority - 1 through 5 will accomplish this objective.

  60. @Mot Juste If only such simplistic black-and-white choices had something to do with reality. They don't. As for #6, while I wish you were right, I'd have to put my money on the sun.

  61. I'm surprised the Times treats the "job guarantee" as a serious proposal. It is completely unworkable and has never been implemented anywhere. Instead, the question should have been asked about Universal Basic Income, at least it has a track record of actually being implemented successfully, whatever its merits.

  62. Sanders is not a Democrat. As I am not either, thought that I just throw that out. There is only one issue, at least for me. Getting rid of Trump. Standing on principles is very nice, but in today's world, it doesn't win elections. Nothing good happens if Trump is not gone.

  63. I'm a moderate Democrat (by today's standards at least) and the list of policies here do not include most of my priorities. Of the 20 things listed here, 6 are immigration related. How about improve the quality of K-12 education? This is one of my top priorities and I'm sure it is for many people. How about control deficits and debts? Health care reform to contain costs that is not necessarily "Medicare for all"? The housing affordability crisis? Breaking up monopolies and oligopolies? Committing to free trade? Education, housing, health care - most people care about these issues across the ideological spectrum.

  64. Agreed. My top healthcare concern is affordable insurance covering pre existing conditions.

  65. In this election, at least, I think the question is which is the proper lane TO WIN? Traditionally it would be the centrist lane. But it really seems that times have changed and you need to have an unabashed bold vision to get people excited. That’s Sanders. But that can turn away the independents to the extent those people really exist anymore. So maybe a Biden or Bloomberg is better than a Sanders. To me that is the dividing line—which school of thought is most likely to lead to electoral victory? Not ideology. Of course then you have the whole wrinkle of congressional races where even I, a Sanders fan, must admit that the down-ballot ramifications almost certainly favor the centrist approach.

  66. @Tim 2018 election results validated “the centrist approach.” Almost no candidates Bernie backed got elected.

  67. @Tim and it speaks volumes that Warren - clearly the most ideologically similar to Sanders- falls below Bloomberg even on your list. Why do female candidates have to be PERFECT for consideration, while males can be old, milquetoast white, senile, or literally buy an election?

  68. It may well be that the survey is correct and that Democratic voters are less divided than we think. But what the survey can't measure is the impact of the loudest, most polarizing voices on the media and social media who make us feel as though the party -- and the country -- is riven.

  69. The distinction I would make it this: Moderates believe the problem is Trump. If we can get rid of Trump, we can get back to normal and fix some stuff, too. Moderates argue that most people don't want a revolution, and that many progressive concepts (e.g. free college) aren't really that popular. They make a good point -- progressives believe their policies are more popular than they are. Progressives believe the problem in not Trump but the conditions that created Trump -- the general corruption in Washington in service of corporate donors -- which in turn makes voters so skeptical of government that they turn to someone like Trump, who sells a "big fix" for all their problems. Progressives argue that unless we offer big solutions and things to hope for, Trump will have the enthusiasm factor in his corner. Hillary's campaign suggests they may be right. These are pretty different diagnoses in terms of which kind of candidate Dems need to run -- a back-to-normal candidate or a transformational candidate. But the actual policy disagreements aren't that huge. It's what package they should come in. I tend to agree with progressives about the need to inspire voters, but disagree with them about the popularity of using Sanders' model of "revolution" -- while I think Sanders' language will get the Democratic base fired up, it will also the Republican base fired up to vote against him. That's how I ended up with Warren, who I think can sell progressivism to moderates better.

  70. The contortions of the Democratic Party that is about to dismantle itself are painful to watch. The party experiences a revolt of its base against the party generals. The likely result of this revolt is that the generals will lose their army and the army will wander aimlessly with no political leadership. Where will they go, if anywhere? This is a good question.

  71. @Gennady: They will go to the voting booths to vote Trump and his enablers out! Blue Tsunami 2020!

  72. The overwhelming majority of Americans who must work hard for a living, those in the middle and lower classes, live in an America that is full of serious problems. These Americans work hard but do not earn enough money to sufficiently pay for their living and enjoy a comfortable life. They are working more hours than their parents worked yet are making less money and have less vacation time. They used much of their savings to help their kids go to college. In most cases, their kids were still forced to take massive student loans that will take years for them to repay. Many of these Americans are paid so poorly they are forced to work additional poorly-paying hourly jobs in large flush companies, such as Amazon and Walmart, to make ends meet. For many of these Americans with young children, childcare presents a serious problem. Parents either must pay for expensive childcare options or cobble together plans on the fly that often require the enlistment of grandparents, their own exhaustion of personal and sick days, and a reliance upon friends, while they work to sustain their meager living. For these Americans, Sanders and Warren are heroes.

  73. @Howard Gregory Like it or not the life style for Americans circa 1945 - 1970 or 1980 was an economic / historical anomony. For all of history most people have lived subsitance lives and that is reverting to norm in the US. Happily even poor people in the US have enough food (look at the obesity epedemic) cell phones, TVs, microwaves, computers, indoor plumbing and electricy, etc... Healthcare is problamatic but that is a result of supply. Obamacare simply adds more dollars chasing the same amount of care. Obama or Trump should have said a US goal is to graduate double the number of doctors and nurses with the next ten years. If you graduate an accredited program the government will reimbuse your tuition.

  74. @Howard Gregory And in the end Hillary addressed and wanted to deal with all of these problems in near exact same ways as Sanders but the Bernie Bros. were so intrenched ideologically that they wouldn't even read her platform and vote for her. That is the problem that this article brings up. Ignorance amongst the otherwise more educated party.

  75. One explanation for the seeming consensus might be the parochial nature of the questions. Impeaching Trump shows up as number one, but in four years it will be irrelevant, and it is more of a tribal goal than a policy goal. There are no questions about ending war, and no questions about ending hunger. If these results reflect the typical Democratic voter accurately, progressives may wonder whether there's anything in the party for them.

  76. @Carl M And you believe Trump and the Republicans care about ending hunger and war? We fight on the field in front of us. What does that mean? It means that you have to acknowledge reality and the way the real word operates. You don’t have to like that reality, but you do have to understand it. Part of that reality is, our political system operates on 2 parties. No independent or third party has a snowball’s chance on the sun of winning a national election. So it’s up to you. Do you stay home and thumb your nose at the Democrats because they aren’t 100% what you want them to be while Trump cruises to another victory, a victory that ensures NONE of your policy agendas will ever see the light of day? Or do you put your grown-up pants on, realize that when it comes to national politics you’re going to have to make some compromises and help unseat Trump, thereby ensuring that although you won’t get everything you want, you will get some of it?

  77. It troubles me that addressing the existential issue of climate change doesn't make it into the top ten priorities for any candidate's supporters other than Pete Buttigieg's. Though ninety percent of Democrats may want to see climate change meaningfully addressed, it won't happen until it's a high priority for a great many people, and not just Democrats. Tepid support for change is insufficient to overcome the inertia of the fossil-fuel economy.

  78. Too often we think of the Democrats as polarized in centrist vs. progressive. Of course in reality most people are somewhere in between. But I take note of Bloomberg proposing $5 trillion in taxes on the rich. He’s trying to get ahead of a wealth tax that would absolutely be effective because of America’s unique citizenship-based taxation and FATCA. It would have never been the case without the pressure of progressives. Both sides are valuable to the party, but it’s time to try a progressive in the general. We’ve been losing too many elections from the center.

  79. Twitter still is not real life.

  80. I am a 72 year old woman who supports Sen. Sanders. The most important issues to me are climate change and inequality/poverty. I believe these issues are also most important to Bernie and most of his supporters. But I doubt if polls asked about these issues. I am also supporting Sanders because I think he has the best chance to win and help Democratic Senators.This is going to be a very hard election for Democrats to win. I think Bernie can win, first, because I think that he can stand up to Trump, dismissing his name calling. Trump would eat Joe Biden for breakfast. Secondly, the same grassroots organization we have built nation-wide that is helping Sanders to surge, will be there to get voters out, even giving rides, etc. But if he is not the nominee, most of these supporters will help the nominee to win. I agree that the disparate policies of the candidates may come to little in fact, but that is why it is so important to win the Senate. I wish the Times would report more on close Senate races (such as Kentucky, where Amy McGrath is neck and neck with McConnell; Arizona where Mark Kelly could defeat McSally, Colorado, and maybe N. Carolina.) If we win a Senate majority or equality, the disparate policies will really make a difference, with the VP having the deciding vote. If we only win the Senate, that will be a check on Trump.

  81. It doesn't say when this research was taken--Housing isn't even listed and it's a crisis in many states. Democrats are campaigning on Housing Heathcare Higher Education We need a Fighter--Democrats are steaming mad and moderate won't cut it. Go Bernie Go

  82. The one and only 'political' and ' socioeconomic' division that matters in the American past, present and future is color aka race, ethnicity and national origin. Unless and until the men, women and children who are heirs of enslaved and separate and unequal black Africans and colonized and conquered brown Indigenous nations then America will not be a land of the free nor home of the brave. Where are the Iowa, the Dakota, the Illinois etc? What is Alabama, California, Wyoming, Missiissippi,Montana, Colorado, Florida, Nevada etc. in American English ?

  83. Is it possible for The New York Times to display results that are less clear? This is a consistent problem for this publication. Polls are only useful when their results can be readily analyzed. Also, polls are only useful when their questions are framed logically, coherently.

  84. Well, they've already impeached Trump. What's left? Oh, right, more immigration, legal or otherwise, and a continued porous southern border with no consequence for crossing it. Fail.

  85. Please God let this election end soon!

  86. No kidding. The GOP strategy is ALWAYS “ Divide and Conquer “ and it almost always Works. Don’t fall for it. Again, I’ll pledge Today : I WILL VOTE Blue, NO matter Who. Anyone Else ?????

  87. Unfortunately the Dems are united - - by the fact that most of the party activists are far far left with positions that are not winnable in a general (Dems, Repubs, Indie voters) election.

  88. 'Union makes strength'. And democrats shall surely need it, given the advantage of dealing with a 'weakling' disguised as a bully (basically a coward in disguise)...but with no integrated plan as to how to tackle urgent issues, not the least being his promotion of 'divide to conquer' on the basis of resentment...and lies galore...to distract us from his glaring incompetence. All that is needed are a few republicans with the moral courage to re-buy their sold souls to corruption. Haven't we seen Trump's deep ignorance in just about anything he does, with a very limited use of a sound vocabulary...other than demagoging the issues. On the other side, democratic candidates have demostrated sound knowledge and expertise to answer the urgent needs, including tackling the crisis of Climate Change, needed...thus far neglected irresponsibly by Trump and his minions. Democrats are bound to oust Trump this coming November; theirs to lose only if the public's outrage towards the current mafia in government is overlooked.

  89. The one thing that all Democrats (and frankly anyone else who understands what is happening) agree on is that Trump must be defeated in November. Vote blue no matter who.

  90. I'd like to see the results of this same list of questions being asked and parsed between avid Trump supporters and Republicans in general.

  91. "The state with a huge influence in picking presidential candidates doesn’t look much like the country as a whole." As long as media like The New York Times insist on dividing us, there is little hope of Democrats coming together. If the Times is referring to racial diversity, then let's remember that Blacks make up only about 12 percent of our population. If it means that Iowa has an outsize share of over 50s, then let's remember that most states are graying and that those with gray hair have been paying more taxes and for longer. We need to get rid of Donald Trump, whose treasonous corruption is unprecedented. And there is no reason to insist that a woman or a Black person needs to be on the ticket that seeks to defeat him.

  92. Amy said at one or more debates: “there is more that unites us than divides us” on ideas; it’s how we get there that differs. It took a poll to substantiate this?

  93. It is all very simple really. Sanders and Warren are for making our economy and our society more fair and honest. A of the rest of them are for some "light" version of what the republicans have foisted upon us over the last 40 years.

  94. Free healthcare for illegal aliens, reparations, adult men using girl’s bathrooms, the unilateral disarmament of law-abiding citizens, the abolishment of free speech, identity politics as the sole metric of individualism, etc. Unless the Democrats can moderate these issues in a manner palatable to average Americans, we will see Trump 2020, 2024, and so on.