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U.S. Sen. Cory Booker. Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

Booker still trails in presidential contest

New Jersey senator comes 7th in increasingly-wide field

By Nikita Biryukov, April 30 2019 4:22 pm

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) trailed leading presidential candidates in a Quinnipiac University Poll released Tuesday but garnered enough support to clear most of the increasingly-wide field.

Only 2% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters told pollsters they would vote for Booker were the party’s primary to be held today.

“The Democratic primary race suddenly gets real with a fast start by former Vice President Joe Biden and a very clear indication from voters that he is the only candidate who can send President Trump packing 18 months from now,” assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll Tim Malloy said.

Biden won support from 38% of respondents. Trailing him were U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Kamala Harris (D-Cali.), who won support from 12%, 11% and 8% of voters, respectively.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg edged out Harris, winning support from 10% of the voters, though a majority of voters, 52%-36%, said they did not believe the United States was ready to elect a gay man to the presidency, even if 70% of those same voters, including 46% of Republicans, said they were open to voting for the same.

The former figure could spell trouble for Buttigieg, who is openly gay.

“The good news for Mayor Pete Buttigieg is that voters seem ready to accept a gay man as president,” Malloy said. “The bad news for Buttigieg is that voters believe it just isn’t going to happen.”

Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Tex.) won support form 5% of voters, beating out Booker’s 2%.

Those tallies leave New Jersey’s junior senator in seventh place in a contest with an ever-expanding field of candidates.

Quinnipiac asked voters about their support for 13 other candidates, though the majority of those candidates got backing from less than 1% of voters.

Booker’s support has dropped slightly since mid-April, around the time he launched his Justice For All Tour.

Since then, the presidential hopeful has toured a number of early-primary states in an effort to drum up enthusiasm for his campaign and familiarize voters with his policies.

That effort appears to have met limited success, as Booker’s position in the polls has remained largely steady, though his Real Clear Politics polling average has shrunk from 3.8% on April 13, the day of the tour’s kickoff, to 2.2% Tuesday.

At the very least, Booker has secured a spot in the 2020 cycle’s early primary debates. The Democratic National Committee’s rules this year require candidates to win support form 1% of voters in at least three national polls or polls of early primary states.

Candidates can also get on the stage by receiving campaign contributions from 65,000 donors, with at least 200 donors from 20 different states.

Debates after the first two may set a higher bar.

Still, it’s more than worth noting that the Iowa Caucus, the first contest in a presidential primary, is a little more than nine months away. In politics, that’s an eternity.

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