Seven in 10 Democrat voters in a new national poll said it is “important” for Democratic presumptive nominee Joe Biden to pick a woman of color as his running mate.
In a new USA TODAY/Suffolk Poll, nearly three-fourths of Democratic voters surveyed said that it was very or somewhat important that Biden choose a woman of color to be his running mate. 35% said it was “very important” to them, while 37% said it was “somewhat important.” However, 16% of Democrats surveyed said it was “not at all important” that race shouldn’t be a factor in Biden’s selection of a running mate.
Among Democrats across racial lines, 75% of white Americans said it was “very“ or “somewhat important” in nominating a woman of color while 60% of Black respondents called it “very” or “somewhat important.”
Biden announced in March that he would name a woman as his running mate. Since the death of George Floyd, the emphasis on considering an African American woman to the second-most-powerful position in the country has increased.
The survey polled several of the women being potentially considered as Biden’s running mate and found that California Sen. Kamala Harris generated the most enthusiasm with 35%. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren had 27% of Democrats “excited” if she was named the party’s vice presidential nominee. But 19% called Warren “not acceptable,” the highest negative rating of any of the 11 names on the poll’s rundown.
In the poll breakdown by contenders excitement by race, 41% of whites and 32% of African Americans said they would be “excited” if Harris was named. For Warren, 33% of white and 15% of Black respondents were rated as an “exciting” choice.
Half of the contenders in the poll listed showed that the majority of Democrat respondents didn’t know enough about them to have an opinion. The highest was California Congresswoman Karen Bass, who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus and shepherded the recent House Democrats sweeping police reform bill. Over 74% of Democrats surveyed said they don’t know enough about Bass, while only 4% rated her as an “exciting” choice. Florida Congresswoman Val Demings, the first black woman to serve as Orlando Chief of police and is considered “on the shortlist” of Biden’s VP list was unknown to nearly 65% of Democrats. Overall, 12% of those surveyed said they would be “excited” if Demings was named.
Sources close to Biden’s campaign told the Washington Post in June that Biden has narrowed down his list of vice presidential candidates to as few as six serious contenders. Among the names on the list are four African American women including Harris, Demmings, former national security adviser Susan Rice, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Also on the list is Warren, and a New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, who is Latina.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar(D-MN) bowed out of consideration prior to The Washington Post report due to amid scrutiny for failing to tackle police misconduct as a former Hennepin County chief prosecutor. She called on Biden to “put a woman of color on that ticket.”
On Tuesday, Biden told reporters that he has prepared a list of “women of color” as potential contenders and he will share his decision “several weeks before the convention.”
“There are a number of women of color. There are Latino women. There are Asian. There are — across the board. And we’re just underway now in the hard vet of going into the deep background checks that take anywhere from six to eight weeks to be done,” Biden said.
Biden is not likely to sit down with finalists until mid-to-late July, with an announcement expected to come the first week of August.
The USA Today poll was conducted by Suffolk University June 25-29, with 1,000 registered voters nationwide with 345 of those being Democrats. The margin of error for the Democratic sample is plus or minus 5.3 percentage points.