STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Kamala Harris shows potential strength in 2020 primary

California Sen. Kamala Harris has placed number one ...

Posted: Dec 24, 2018 11:09 AM
Updated: Dec 24, 2018 11:09 AM

California Sen. Kamala Harris has placed number one in our 2020 power rankings for the last few months. Yet, she has lagged in public opinion polling for the 2020 Democratic nomination.

A look at the early signals in the endorsement part of the invisible primary, however, point to Harris as a force to be reckoned with in 2020.

2020 Presidential election

Elections (by type)

Elections and campaigns

Government and public administration

Kamala Harris

Political candidates

Political Figures - US

Politics

US Federal elections

US Presidential elections

Activism

Continents and regions

Demographic groups

Females (demographic group)

Iowa

Midwestern United States

North America

Political endorsements

Population and demographics

Primaries and caucuses

Society

The Americas

United States

Like public opinion polls, the endorsement primary suggests a contest that is still wide open. That's not much of a surprise. We're still more than a year away from the Iowa caucuses. Still, the endorsement primary will be important to keep an eye on it. Candidates who receive a lot of endorsements from party actors (politicians, activists, etc.) tend to do well. Even six months out from Iowa, the candidate ahead in the endorsement primary has won 9 of last 14 presidential primaries without an incumbent running in it.

Without many actual endorsements to count, it's a bit difficult to gauge where things might end up in 2020. There's no real way to conduct the type of scientific poll we do for the public at large. We're stuck reading tea leaves. Those tea leaves, though, suggest that Democratic activists seem most open to voting for someone like Harris at this point.

Iowa Democratic county chairpeople, for example, want a young person who hasn't run for president before. That was the opinion of 43 of 76 county Iowa chairpeople asked by the Wall Street Journal. Harris, who is only 54 years old, received strong reviews compared to polling leaders like Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

A separate measure of the endorsement primary from political scientist Seth Masket finds similarly. Masket has been interviewing activists who have traditionally been involved in primary politics. Masket notes that the vast majority of them in Iowa and nationally he spoke to are uncommitted, and, of course, interviews of this nature are not guaranteed to be representative of the larger activist pool.

Still, more Democratic activists from Iowa interviewed say they are open to considering Harris than any other candidate. In-line with the Wall Street Journal interviews, Masket's interviewees placed young candidates Sen. Cory Booker second and Rep. Beto O'Rourke third for consideration.

Nationally, Masket's interviews reveal the breadth of potential Harris support. A majority of activists said they were considering backing her in the combined results from Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Washington, D.C. No other candidate (of more than a dozen) is at this point receiving consideration from a majority of the activists asked.

Masket isn't the only one to find broad potential appeal for Harris in the endorsement primary. Interviews by the progressive women of color group We The People point in the same direction. In a survey with women of color in politics (from elected officials to those who work at political organizations), Harris was the only candidate listed by a majority of respondents when asked to give their top three choices for 2020. O'Rourke placed a distant second for top three support.

It's hard to find a more important primary group than women of color. They are by far the most Democratic aligned major demographic group. Women of color powered Hillary Clinton's sweep of the Southeast in the 2016 primary. Just last year, they were the base for Democrat Doug Jones's shocking victory in the Alabama special Senate election.

Will the early positive signals for Harris in the endorsement primary end up leading to success when it comes to the actual primary next year? That's impossible to say. Even if Harris eventually earns the endorsements from a plurality of activists, it's no guarantee that voters will follow the activists' lead.

A Harris nomination makes a lot of sense though. The Democratic Party is becoming increasingly non-white and nominated women in record numbers in 2018. As Harris is the only women of color anywhere near the top tier for the 2020 Democratic nomination, it shouldn't be surprising at all if she ends up winning.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 72254

Reported Deaths: 3023
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15503725
Lake7447274
Elkhart476082
Allen3789161
St. Joseph337381
Hamilton2668105
Vanderburgh188813
Hendricks1833106
Cass17749
Johnson1719118
Porter126639
Clark117846
Tippecanoe117711
Madison91565
LaPorte88330
Howard87265
Kosciusko84012
Marshall77122
Bartholomew76647
Floyd76045
Monroe72230
Delaware70152
Dubois67612
Boone66246
Noble65929
Hancock64138
Vigo58610
Jackson5725
Warrick57030
LaGrange55610
Shelby54227
Grant52130
Dearborn49328
Morgan45934
Clinton4093
Henry37320
Wayne35410
White35410
Montgomery34821
Lawrence33627
Decatur33232
Harrison32123
Putnam2868
Miami2672
Daviess26320
Scott26310
Greene24634
Franklin23813
Jasper2272
DeKalb2264
Jennings22012
Gibson2144
Steuben2063
Ripley1977
Fayette1837
Perry18112
Carroll1772
Starke1767
Posey1670
Orange16624
Wabash1633
Wells1622
Fulton1612
Jefferson1552
Whitley1506
Knox1490
Tipton1336
Spencer1313
Washington1311
Huntington1213
Newton11510
Randolph1154
Clay1095
Sullivan1031
Adams952
Jay860
Owen841
Pulaski761
Rush744
Brown731
Fountain682
Blackford622
Ohio624
Benton600
Pike520
Parke511
Vermillion500
Switzerland450
Crawford440
Martin430
Union370
Warren221
Unassigned0202

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 98675

Reported Deaths: 3652
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin18006522
Cuyahoga13269498
Hamilton9493253
Lucas5207321
Montgomery422991
Summit3486220
Marion291945
Butler286163
Mahoning2502255
Pickaway238042
Stark1783139
Warren174238
Lorain171378
Columbiana163460
Trumbull1500106
Fairfield133231
Delaware127319
Licking122449
Clark113314
Lake108738
Wood101358
Clermont90211
Medina89635
Miami81938
Tuscarawas77214
Portage74661
Allen71844
Greene66212
Belmont61426
Richland59611
Mercer59113
Erie56427
Ashtabula55946
Geauga55244
Wayne52558
Ross4504
Huron3935
Darke38527
Ottawa37126
Sandusky36816
Athens3561
Hancock3553
Madison35310
Holmes3276
Lawrence2670
Auglaize2446
Union2371
Scioto2221
Muskingum2211
Jefferson2192
Putnam20217
Washington20022
Knox1997
Seneca1963
Coshocton1906
Shelby1864
Preble1802
Crawford1725
Morrow1682
Hardin16112
Champaign1592
Clinton1586
Highland1481
Fulton1471
Logan1452
Wyandot1428
Ashland1403
Defiance1394
Williams1323
Brown1262
Perry1213
Guernsey1167
Henry1152
Hocking1159
Carroll1105
Fayette1100
Monroe9118
Pike760
Jackson730
Van Wert711
Paulding650
Gallia621
Adams592
Meigs360
Vinton302
Morgan250
Harrison241
Noble160
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 75°
Angola
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 70°
Huntington
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 72°
Decatur
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 68°
Van Wert
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 68°
Sunny, Seasonable Saturday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events