Voices & Choices

RCV Polls Provide Insights When Candidates Drop Out

RCV Polls Provide Insights When Candidates Drop Out

U.S. Senator Cory Booker announced Monday that he is dropping out of the 2020 presidential race, joining recently withdrawn candidates Julián Castro and Marianne Wiliamson. FairVote’s ranked choice voting (RCV) polls of South Carolina in December and the nation last September can help us understand how the news may impact the race. 

While the frontrunners in the race are subject to change, polls show the strongest contenders right now are Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg. After narrowing the race to “the top four” and Booker in our South Carolina interactive widget, it is possible to see how Booker’s support is redistributed when he is removed from the race. 


With Booker in Contention

Without Booker in Contention

Biden and Buttigieg are the biggest beneficiaries, gaining about 1.9% and 1.8% respectively. Sanders and Warren, meanwhile, gain about 0.7% and 0.4%. These differences may seem small, but in Buttigieg’s case, he crosses the all-important 15% threshold, which would qualify him for statewide delegates under DNC rules, while Warren would not be awarded any pledged delegates if the election results matched the results of this poll.  

You can see for yourself how the other candidates who have dropped out, such as Castro and Williamson, might impact the race and see responses by demographic groups by using our South Carolina poll interactive widget. You also can delve into our reports to see the challenges our numbers shows for the withdrawn candidates. For example, in South Carolina, Booker had good depth of support (only 3 candidates were ranked in the top 10 by a higher percentage of voters), but less intense support (he was ninth in first choices, and seventh among top-three rankings).


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