News and Commentary

Cue Dem Meltdown: Look At What Happens To Presidential Polls When You Add Howard Schultz Into Mix

With Democrats already boiling about former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announcing a likely independent presidential run, new polling data is sure to trigger a full meltdown.

A new Emerson College poll of Iowa voters shows that when Schultz is added to the mix, Trump’s chances of beating his top Democratic rivals jumps up significantly. Despite being underwater in approval by 2 points in the poll, 46-48%, the survey of 831 registered Iowa voters found Trump edging out 7 of 8 of his potential Democratic contenders (and blowing away potential primary challenger former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, 90-10%), but mostly within the margin of error. When Schultz is listed as an Independent option, however, Trump’s lead expands dramatically.

The only Democrat listed who would edge out Trump head-to-head is Joe Biden (51-49). All the others fell short: Bernie Sanders (50-51), Elizabeth Warren (48-52), Kamala Harris (47-53), Beto O’Rourke (47-53), Kirsten Gillibrand (46-54), Sherrod Brown (46-55), and Nancy Pelosi (45-55).

But when Emerson added Schultz as an option against Warren, her chances dropped dramatically. Instead of losing by 4 points to Trump, the gap grew to 9 points, 40-49%, with Schultz grabbing 11%.

HotAir’s Allahpundit notes that the Emerson poll’s findings echo that of a Change Research study, which found that Schultz takes away an average of 4 points from Democrats and only 1 point from Trump. Here are the study’s key takeaways:

  • Schultz takes an average of four points away from what the Democratic candidate receives in a two-way race, while taking just 1% away from Donald Trump. That means Schultz’s presence in the race makes Trump’s margins between 2 and 4 points better than they would be without him in the race.
  • In every three-way matchup except against Biden (who leads both candidates), President Trump has plurality support.
  • In every two-way matchup except against Biden (who once again has a significant lead), the Democrat narrowly leads President Trump. A Schultz candidacy could pull more from the Democratic nominee than the Republican nominee if held today.
  • While Schultz voters are disproportionately Independent, they are also more likely to be Democrats than Republicans.

As The Daily Wire‘s Emily Zanotti pointed out Monday, Schultz’s internal polling shows that he could get 17% against Trump and either Warren or Harris. “When Schultz is added to the lineup, Trump posts 33% compared to Warren and Harris, who post 32% and 31% respectively,” Zanotti noted. Meanwhile, polling from Morning Consult found that over a third, 35%, of voters are willing to consider a third party candidate, while 12% think that they’d vote for someone other than Trump or a Democrat. Worse for Democrats: far more Democrats are willing to back an independent than Republicans.

“While only 26 percent of voters who approve of Trump’s job performance as president said they were very or somewhat likely to consider a third-party candidate, a larger percentage of Trump disapprovers, 41 percent, said they would consider voting for an independent,” Politico reports on the Morning Consult poll’s findings. “By party, nearly a third of Democrats, 31 percent, say they would consider a third-party candidate, compared with 25 percent of Republicans who indicated they would consider voting for someone other than the two major-party nominees.”

Related: Ruthless: Here’s How Former Clinton Operatives Are Already Working To Take Down Starbucks’ Schultz