Although Elizabeth Warren has said she does not intend to challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president, that hasn’t stopped activists from attempting to draft her to run.
And those activists say a new poll of likely Democratic Iowa caucus-goers and New Hampshire primary voters shows there is momentum for such a candidacy.
Warren leads Clinton 31 to 24 percent in Iowa and 30 to 27 percent in New Hampshire in an online poll conducted by YouGov. It was commissioned by MoveOn.org Political Action as part of the Run Warren Run effort. Those numbers come after respondents heard about Senator Warren’s positions and biography “without any negative information provided about other candidates,” organizers say.
The poll also shows that primary voters in New Hampshire and caucus-goers in Iowa want a contested primary, with 98 percent agreeing that a competitive primary is good for the party, candidates and voters.
When voters were informed about Warren’s biography and issue positions on items such as college debt, Social Security and getting tough on Wall Street, 79 percent of respondents said they would like her to run for president in 2016.
“None of it is a surprise,” said Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America. “What we’re seeing on the ground in New Hampshire and Iowa is an extreme amount of excitement as people get to know Elizabeth Warren. They love what she stands for, what she’s fighting for, and they want to see her get in this race, and the polling numbers back that up.”
Chamberlain says Run Warren Run have opened up two offices in Iowa and one office in New Hampshire since December, with a combined 10 staffers working in both states.
But before Warren supporters get too giddy, Adam Reuben, a senior strategist with Run Warren Run, stressed that, “It should not be read as reflecting how Iowa or New Hampshire voters would vote if the caucus or primary was held today. That’s not what we were measuring here. Instead, this should be as an indicator that many voters in these states are movable, that they’re open to supporting Elizabeth Warren. When they learn about her, they like what she has to say.”
The poll also shows that 60 percent of Clinton supporters want Warren to enter the race.
Anna Galland, executive director of MoveOn.org Civic Action, said that although it would be preferable for Warren to get in the race as soon as possible, she said their group is laying groundwork now that could be helpful to the Massachusetts senator if and when she decides to get into the contest this year.
That remains a big if: Warren has consistently said that she has no interest in challenging Clinton for the nomination.
“I don’t think she is planning a run,” Chamberlain acknowledged on a conference call when challenged by a reporter about Run Warren Run’s efforts to date. “The reason we’re running a draft campaign is because Elizabeth Warren needs to be in this race. This is her moment.”
Other Democrats who have discussed a possible challenge to Hillary Clinton — Bernie Sanders, Jim Webb, Brian Schweitzer, Martin O’Malley — are not generating nearly the intense interest that Warren has been generating. “What we’re doing is recognizing that there’s a special fire behind Elizabeth Warren,” Chamberlain said, referencing the fact that after the 2014 election Democracy for America ran a poll asking its members who would they like to see run for the Democratic nomination for president, and Warren was 20 percentage points ahead of the pack.
The surveys were conducted between Jan.30 and Feb. 5, limited to 400 respondents in Iowa and 400 in New Hampshire who described themselves as likely to vote in the Democratic presidential primary or caucuses and included a series of questions about issue positions and candidate preferences.