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LUNCHTIME POLITICS: Kentucky Governor – Last Night’s Debate – Maine – New York – South Carolina



Your Daily Polling Update for Wednesday, October 16


Down 1 from yesterday

RON’S COMMENT: Today’s average is based on five polls, ranging from 41% (Reuters, Politico, Quinnipiac) to 49% (Rasmussen). The fifth poll has it at 43%…. President Trump’s disapproval rating averages 54% today (same as yesterday), which is 11 points higher than his approval rating.


By Ron Faucheux

With sure-footed skill, Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg went after Elizabeth Warren on her refusal to admit that her Medicare-for-All plan would require tax increases. It left the senator from Massachusetts harried and a bit anxious. It was the first time Democrats threw a punch at Warren and she didn’t handle it particularly well. Joe Biden and Beto O’Rourke also piled on. Warren’s thematic comebacks about corporate abuse and income inequality have been very effective in the past, but last night started sounding canned.

  • As usual, Joe Biden has his good moments. But, also as usual, he fell short. He’s often on the defense and spends too much time talking about the past, which diminishes his impact.
  • Klobuchar and Buttigieg are positioning themselves as center-left alternatives to Warren and Sanders. Their strategy is obvious: appeal to former Biden supporters as they drift away. They’re also indirectly pressing the claim that Warren, in the end, would not be able to beat Donald Trump in key heartland states that will determine the winner in 2020. They may also be running for vice president.
  • Bernie Sanders did well and looks no worse for wear.
  • The exchange between Buttigieg and Tulsi Gabbard on protecting the Kurds was both substantive and vigorous. Worth watching. So was the exchange between Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke on assault weapons.
  • Kamala Harris had a few good answers, but she was more of an asterisk than a key player.
  • O’Rourke just doesn’t cut it when multiple rivals are on stage. Perhaps he’s better contrasting with one opponent, like, um, Ted Cruz?
  • Speaking of likable––there was Cory Booker admonishing his opponents for attacking one another. Has his goal shifted to a VP bid?
  • This was Tom Steyer’s first debate and while he had a chance to deliver his message––which is clear and disciplined, he lacks candidate appeal. His fat bank account, though, gives him staying power.


Among Democratic voters in each state

New York Primary
Joe Biden: 21%
Elizabeth Warren: 21%
Bernie Sanders: 16%
Pete Buttigieg: 4%
Kamala Harris: 4%
Andrew Yang: 3%
Candidates with 1% or less not listed

RON’S COMMENT: Warren and Biden are tied in New York. Warren beats Biden by 4 points among men and Biden leads among women by a small margin. Warren beats Biden among the most left-leaning voters 34-16, while Biden wins moderates 26-10. Warren edges Biden among union households 24-22, whites 26-19 and upstate 27-20. Biden wins the city 20-19, the suburbs 23-19, blacks 23-13 and Latinos 24-16. This poll was conducted before last night’s debate.

Maine Primary
Elizabeth Warren: 31%
Joe Biden: 19%
Bernie Sanders: 12%
Pete Buttigieg: 9%
Kamala Harris: 4%
Andrew Yang: 3%
Cory Booker: 2%
Candidates with 1% or less not listed

RON’S COMMENT: Warren posts a big lead in Maine. This poll was conducted before last night’s debate.

South Carolina Primary
Joe Biden: 34%
Bernie Sanders: 10%
Elizabeth Warren: 9%
Tom Steyer: 7%
Cory Booker: 6%
Kamala Harris: 4%
Beto O’Rourke: 2%
Amy Klobuchar: 2%
Andrew Yang: 2%
Candidates with 1% or less not listed

RON’S COMMENT: This survey shows lower percentages for the candidates than other recent polling in the state, which remains Biden’s key firewall. This poll was conducted before last night’s debate.


Among voters statewide

Gov. Matt Bevin (R) and Andy Beshear (D): even (46-46)

RON’S COMMENT: In December, Democratic challenger Beshear, the state’s AG, held an 8-point lead in this poll. Now it’s even. Incumbent Bevin has been successful bringing Republican voters home––increasing his GOP support from 67% to 77%. However, Bevin still suffers from a net negative job rating, 45% approve/48% disapprove. Trump’s favorable rating in Kentucky is 55%––which may be Bevin’s ace in the hole…. Democrats have not yet held their primary, although Beshear is viewed as the frontrunner for the nomination.


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Presidential job rating average based on recent nationwide polls.
MAINE: PPP (D), OCT. 11-13
SOUTH CAROLINA: Gravis, Oct. 3-7
NEW YORK: Siena College, Oct. 6-10
KENTUCKY: Mason-Dixon, Oct. 10-13

Lunchtime Politics is owned and published by Ron Faucheux. For interviews or speeches about polling and political trends, contact Dr. Faucheux at

The publisher of this report cannot attest to the reliability or methodology of surveys that it does not conduct.

Copyright 2019 Ronald A. Faucheux


Ron Faucheux

Dr. Faucheux is a nationally respected public opinion analyst with a unique background in public policy and legislative research, public communications and message strategies. He combines professional competence with pragmatic problem solving skills.