May 23, 2019

Most Democrats say gender, race of 2020 nominee won’t change their enthusiasm

Democrats generally view ‘the 50s’ as the best age for a presidentWhen asked about the ideal age for a president, most Democrats say they prefer someone in their 40s through their 60s, with nearly half (47%) saying the best age for a president is “in their 50s.”

Two of the Democratic Party’s best-known candidates, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, are in their 70s, yet only 3% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say this is the best age range for a president. And just 6% say it would be ideal for a president to be in their 30s.

The new survey by Pew Research Center, conducted April 29-May 13 among 10,170 adults – including 5,675 Democrats and Democratic leaners – finds that most who identify as or lean Democratic say it would not have much effect on their enthusiasm if the party’s presidential nominee were white, a person of color, or gay, lesbian or bisexual.

However, nearly a third of all Democrats (31%) – including 45% of Democratic women ages 18 to 49 – say they would be more enthusiastic if the party’s nominee were a woman.

And while relatively small shares of Democrats overall say they would be more enthusiastic if the nominee were black or Hispanic (21% each), more than a third of black Democrats (35%) say they would be more enthusiastic if the party’s nominee were black, while 44% of Latino Democrats say they would be more enthused by a Hispanic nominee.

The survey also finds that, in general, younger Democrats are more likely than older Democrats to prefer that a president be in their 30s or 40s. A majority of Democrats ages 18 to 29 (55%) say it is best for a president to be in their 30s (13%) or 40s (42%). Among Democrats in their 30s, 40% say it is best for a president to be in their 30s or 40s, while 30% of those in their 40s say this. But among Democrats 50 and older, 12% view these as the ideal ages for a president.

For Democrats – apart from those 18 to 29 –the preferred age for a president is in the 50s. Although Democrats who are 70 and older are more likely than those in other age groups to say it is best for a president to be in their 60s (33% say this), nearly half (47%) say the 50s is the ideal age. Among Democrats 70 and older, just 4% say it is best that a president be in their 70s.

Most Democrats say race, gender of nominee would not impact enthusiasmThe survey finds that majorities of Democrats generally say the gender, race or sexuality of the Democratic nominee wouldn’t make a difference in their enthusiasm for the candidate. About two-thirds or more say having a woman nominee (64%), a black nominee (75%) or a gay, lesbian or bisexual nominee (68%) wouldn’t make a difference.

Still, far more Democrats say they would be more enthusiastic (31%) than less enthusiastic (4%) if the party’s nominee were a woman. Larger shares also say they would be more enthusiastic than less enthusiastic if the nominee were black (21% vs. 4%), Hispanic (21% vs. 6%) or Asian (16% vs. 9%).

Roughly similar shares of Democrats say they would be more enthusiastic (17%) and less enthusiastic (15%) if the party’s 2020 nominee were gay, lesbian or bisexual. By contrast, larger shares say they would be less enthused than more enthused if the nominee were a man, white or a white man. As with all characteristics asked about, a majority of Democrats (78%) say it would make no difference if the nominee were a white man. But more say they would be less enthusiastic (17%) than more enthusiastic (4%) if the Democratic nominee were a white man.

Younger Democratic women more likely than other Democrats to prefer a nominee who is female or a minority

Enthusiasm for a 2020 nominee who is a woman or person of color is stronger among Democratic women and younger Democrats. And women younger than 50 are among the most likely to express enthusiasm about a nominee who is a woman, Hispanic or black.

Overall, more than a third of Democratic women (37%) say they would be more enthusiastic if the nominee were a woman, compared with 24% of Democratic men who say the same. Similarly, 37% of Democrats ages 18 to 49 say they would be more enthusiastic if the nominee were a woman; just 23% of Democrats 50 and older say that they would be more enthusiastic.

Among Democrats, younger adults and women would be more enthusiastic about a woman or nonwhite nominee in 2020Women ages 18 to 49 are more enthusiastic than others about having a woman as the nominee. Nearly half of Democratic women ages 18 to 49 (45%) say they would be more enthusiastic if that were the case. That compares with 26% of women 50 and older and 28% of men under 50. Among Democratic men who are 50 and older, just 19% say they would be more enthusiastic about a woman as the nominee.

Women and Democrats younger than 50 also are more likely to say they would be more enthusiastic were the nominee black or Hispanic. And while there are no gender differences in enthusiasm for a candidate who is gay, lesbian or bisexual, about a quarter of Democrats under 50 (24%) say this would make them more enthusiastic, while just 6% of older Democrats say the same.

Younger Democrats are more likely than older Democrats to say they would feel “less enthusiastic” if the Democratic nominee were white, a man or a white man, while women are more likely than men to say this about a candidate who is a man (or a white man).

Nonwhite Democrats express more enthusiasm for nominee who shares their racial or ethnic backgroundAbout two-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say they would be more enthusiastic if the party’s nominee in 2020 were Hispanic (21%) or black (21%); only 6% say they would be more enthusiastic if the nominee were white. Just 4% say they would be more enthusiastic if it were a white man.

About a third of black Democrats (35%) say they would be more enthusiastic if the nominee were black, compared with 17% who would be more enthusiastic for a Hispanic nominee and 5% who say this about a white nominee.

Roughly four-in-ten Hispanic Democrats (44%) say they would be more enthusiastic with a Hispanic nominee, while about two-in-ten (22%) would be more enthusiastic with a black nominee and just 7% say they would be more enthused if the nominee were white.

Among white Democrats, 15% say they would be more enthusiastic if the nominee were black or Hispanic, while 6% say they would be more enthusiastic if the nominee were white.

Democrats divided in concerns about congressional Democrats’ probes of Trump

Democrats are split in concerns about investigations of Trump administrationDemocrats and Democratic-leaning independents are roughly divided over whether they are more concerned that congressional Democrats will focus too much (51%) or not enough (47%) on investigating the Trump administration.

Opinions are changed only modestly since last November, after the midterm election, but the share saying their greater concern is that Democrats in Congress will focus too much on investigations has ticked up from 46% to 51%.

A slim majority of conservative and moderate Democrats say they are concerned more about too much focus on investigations (55%), while 43% say their greater concern is not enough focus. The balance of opinion is roughly the reverse among liberal Democrats: 52% say they are more concerned congressional Democrats will not focus enough on investigating the Trump administration, while 46% say they are more concerned they will focus too much on these investigations.

Little change in GOP support for a primary challenger to Trump

About four-in-ten Republicans and GOP leaners want a primary challenge to TrumpA majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (56%) continue to say that they would not like to see other Republicans challenge Donald Trump for the party’s nomination in 2020; 43% say they would like to see a GOP challenge to Trump.

The share of Republicans and GOP leaners who would like to see Trump challenged for the nomination is slightly higher than it was in November (37%), shortly after the midterm election.

Just over half of Republicans younger than age 50 (54%) say other GOP candidates should challenge Trump for the nomination. By comparison, just 33% of older Republicans say this.

Republican-leaning independents are more supportive of a competitive GOP primary than Republicans: 56% of GOP leaners say Trump should be challenged, compared with 35% of Republicans.

About two-thirds of conservative Republicans (66%) do not want a primary challenge for Trump, while nearly six-in-ten moderate and liberal Republicans (58%) would like to see Trump challenged for the party’s nomination.