Florida Democrats will vote for the party’s presidential nominee on March 17, and there’s no telling how many of the candidates running for the job will still be in the field.
If one of the candidates gets early traction, the Sunshine State’s primary could prove irrelevant. But the odds of that happening are slim according to the list of 100-plus top political experts who participated in Florida Politics’ Influencer Poll.
Two thirds of those asked said the Democratic nominee will still be a question mark in four months, and that margin held firm among both Republicans and Democrats. For what it’s worth, all independent felt the same.
Among tuned-in crowd, the odds-on favorite for the nomination is Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who was the pick of 44%, including 44% of the Republicans and half of the Democrats polled. Former Vice President Joe Biden was the No. 2 at 36% while Michael Bloomberg was in a distant third at 3%.
But just because Influencers think Warren will win doesn’t mean they want her to — half of the partisans on each side of the aisle said Biden’s their preferred nominee. Warren was the pick for a fifth of those polled, while “unknown” made up the bulk of the rest.
“The only Democrat who can defeat President [Donald] Trump is Joe Biden,” one Influencer told Florida Politics. “He might not be what the Democrats want (too moderate, age, slow fundraising) but he is the candidate they need — he can appeal to moderates of both parties and indies, and especially appeals to those who want a return to ‘normal,’ that is, no new drama every day.”
More than one Influencer said it was too soon to speculate, especially with such a crowded field.
“Since 1972, three have been 3 presidential primaries where a party had more than a dozen candidates. In each case, an outsider won the nomination. [George] McGovern won in 1972, but lost the election. [Jimmy] Carter won in 1976 and won the election and Trump won in 2016 and won the presidency,” another Influencer said. “Looking at the 2020 Democratic field, will the trend hold? If so, who is the outsider?”
Influencers also issued a warning to any Democrat thinking about tapping Andrew Gillum for VP: run, don’t walk.
The consensus: “As much as he is an undeniable talent whose future in politics is bright, Gillum still carries far too much baggage from both the FBI issues in Tallahassee and his loss to DeSantis to be anything other than a drag on the Democratic nominee, should he be named VP candidate.”
As far as the latest Trump World development — hiring former Attorney General Pam Bondi for his impeachment defense team — about half of Influencers say it was a good call while a quarter say it was another error from the White House.
The Influencers who took part in this poll: Anna Alexopoulos-Farrar, Tom Alte, Jason Altmire, Phil Ammann, Josh Aubuchon, Roger Austin, Tim Baker, Katie Ballard, Geoffrey Becker, Wayne Bertsch, Alexandria Bickley, David Biddle, Taylor Biehl, Katie Bohnett, Matt Brockelman, Lydia Claire Brooks, Kevin Cate, Brad Coker, Jordan Connors, Gus Corbella, Javi Correoso, Kevin Craig, Husein Cumber, Fred Cunningham, Karen Cyphers, Jim Daughton, Claudia Davant, Hayden Dempsey, Pablo Diaz, Victor DiMaio, Andrew Dolberg, Charles Dudley, Ryan Duffy, Pete Dunbar, Barry Edwards, Alia Faraj-Johnson, Trip Farmer, Mark Ferrulo, Matt Florell, Josh Geise, Pamela Goodman, Joel Greenberg, Marion Hammer, Rich Heffley, Brad Herold, Jim Horne, Nick Janovsky, Green Jennifer, Jeff Johnson, Rob Johnson, Eric Johnson, Todd Josko, Fred Karlinsky, Joshua Karp, Micah Ketchel, Lori Killinger, John Konkus, Jackie Lee, Beth Lerner, McKinley Lewis, Karis Lockhart, Shannon Love, John Lux, Jesse Manzano, Tracy Mayernick, Joe Mobley, Zachary Monahan, Tim Nungesser, Rhett O’Doski, Edie Ousley, Jenna Paladino, Alex Patton, Darryl Paulson, Anthony Pedicini, Kirk Pepper, Ron Pierce, Ben Pollara, Noah Pransky, Cissy Proctor, Bert Ralston, Foyt Ralston, Marc Reichelderfer, Jim Rimes, Franco Ripple, Stephanie Rosendorf-Diaz, Scott Ross, Preston Rudie, Elnatan Rudolph, Ron Sachs, Meagan Salisbury, April Schiff, Nanette Schimpf, Pierce Schuessler, Jack Seiler, Alex Sink, Patrick Slevin, Adam Smith, Tim Stapleton, Mac Stipanovich, Eileen Stuart, Kevin Sweeny, Allison Tant, Herbie Thiele, Kyle Ulrich, Jenn Ungru, Steve Vancore, Ashley Walker, Nancy Watkins, Christian Weiss, Doug Wheeler, Susie Wiles, Alan Williams, Michael Worley.