Martin O’Malley’s frequent trips back to Iowa since the 2016 Iowa Caucus seem to be keeping him in the minds of Iowa activists and likely caucus-goers. A new PPP Poll today showed that O’Malley garners the largest share of a host of potential 2020 presidential candidates. The poll was conducted for O’Malley’s O’Say Can You See PAC, and while it shows good news for the former Maryland governor, it also didn’t include two big possible names: Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Still, who runs in 2020 is a very open question, and Sanders and Warren’s support might not naturally flow to any of the polled candidates anyway.
Here’s how likely Iowa caucus-goers’ early support broke out in the poll:
18% – Martin O’Malley
17% – Cory Booker
11% – Amy Klobuchar
8% – Andrew Cuomo
4% – Julian Castro
4% – Sheryl Sandberg
3% – Kirstin Gillibrand
3% – Kamala Harris
1% – Howard Shultz
32 % – Not Sure
That’s not a bad place for O’Malley to start out for a potential future run. He’s been particularly open about his desire to run for president a second time, and his ten return trips to the lead-off state since the last caucus reflect that.
If the 2020 field looks something like the one in the poll, he’d benefit all the more from a group of lesser-known contenders. O’Malley’s previous run never really had a chance to get off the ground with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in the race. Some of these potential candidates – like Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz – would certainly start out with sizable fundraising advantages. But others, like Senators Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar and former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, would need to prove themselves as strong campaigners to put together the resources to fund a full Iowa and national campaign.
And if well-known senators like Sanders and Warren pass on a run, and Joe Biden doesn’t give it another go, there’s really no other major name in the Democratic Party that could start as an overwhelming front-runner. That could make the 2020 Iowa Caucus all the more important – an opportunity for someone to break out of a muddled crowd.
O’Malley received less than 1% of the delegates on caucus night in 2016, but that never meant that he went into the evening that low. With Democrats’ 15% viability threshold, candidates who don’t start off with 15% to 20% statewide support often see their final numbers disproportionately low. I would personally guess that O’Malley started out caucus night with about 7% to 10% of caucus-goers’ support across Iowa, which then obviously got reduced significantly from viability rules. So he would start off another run in 2020 with a much larger base than >1%.
Both O’Malley and Booker had decent favorability ratings with the likely caucus-goers. O’Malley stood at 47% favorable, 12% unfavorable and 41% not sure. Booker had 40% favorable, 11% unfavorable and 49% not sure. Most others weren’t well-known, with 73% having no opinion of Harris and 65% with no feelings toward Gillibrand yet.
by Pat Rynard