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Biden, Warren top 2020 Democratic field

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WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., lead the Democratic presidential field, according to the national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll’s opening measure of the 2020 horse race.

Biden gets the support of 26 percent of voters who say they will participate in next year’s Democratic primaries or caucuses, while 19 percent back Warren.

They’re followed by Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who are tied at 13 percent.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg gets support from 7 percent of Democratic primary voters, and former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke and entrepreneur Andrew Yang are at 2 percent.

No other candidate gets more than 1 percent.

Biden performs best among African Americans, older Democrats and those who are moderate or conservative in their political views, while Warren runs strongest with self-described liberals and those ages 18 to 49.

Sanders also performs best among the youngest Democratic primary voters.

This NBC/WSJ poll was conducted July 7-9, after the first Democratic debates and the subsequent candidate skirmishes over the issues of race and health care.

New candidate Tom Steyer didn’t enter the race until July 9, and the survey didn’t test support for the billionaire activist.

The poll also asked Democratic primary voters about their second choice for president. The top responses were: Harris (14 percent), Warren (13 percent), Sanders (12 percent) and Biden (10 percent).

But importantly, only 12 percent of all Democratic primary voters said their mind is definitely made up, which suggests how malleable these numbers are.

“Every result looks so meaningful, so significant. And in truth, it is only July 2019,” cautioned Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff.

“They are looking at lots of candidates,” McInturff said of these voters, “and they don’t need to make a choice right now.”

A tale of two different Democratic primaries

The poll also shows how the Democratic electorate is divided — between voters who want substantial change and those who want smaller change.

Fifty-four percent of Democratic primary voters say they prefer a nominee who proposes larger-scale policies that might cost more and be harder to pass — but could still result in major change.

Among these voters, Warren leads the pack (at 29 percent), followed by Sanders (18 percent), Biden (16 percent) and Harris (14 percent).

By contrast, 41 percent of Democratic primary voters say they want a nominee who pushes for smaller-scale policies that cost less and might be easier to pass — but that bring less change.

And among these voters, Biden holds a substantial lead (at 35 percent), followed by Harris (14 percent), Buttigieg (8 percent) and Sanders (7 percent).

Similarly, Democratic primary voters are divided on what’s more important to them — a candidate who comes closest to their views on issues, or one who has the best chance to defeat President Donald Trump.

Fifty-one percent say issues are more important, and those voters break for Biden (18 percent), Warren (18 percent), Sanders (17 percent) and Harris (11 percent).

That’s compared with 45 percent who believe defeating Trump is more important, and they break Biden (at 34 percent), Warren (21 percent), Harris (16 percent), Buttigieg (8 percent) and Sanders (6 percent).

Democrats back government-run health care — but others don’t

Additionally, the poll finds that more than 7-in-10 Democratic primary voters favor a single-payer health care system in which all Americans get their health insurance from one government plan financed in part by taxes.

But that’s compared with just 36 percent of independent voters and 14 percent of Republicans who back government-run health care.

Among all voters, 44 percent support it, versus 49 percent who oppose it.

Divided on impeachment

Meanwhile, Democratic primary voters remain divided on impeaching Trump: 41 percent believe there’s enough evidence to begin impeachment hearings now, versus 39 percent who say Congress should continue investigating to see if there’s enough evidence to hold impeachment hearings in the future.

Only 19 percent of Democratic primary voters think that Congress should not hold impeachment hearings and that Trump should finish his term as president.

Among all voters, 21 percent support beginning impeachment now; another 27 percent want more hearings; and 50 percent believe the country should move on.

Who impressed the most at the first debates?

Fifty-one percent of Democratic primary voters say they either watched or listened to some of the first two presidential debates, and another 29 percent say they paid close attention to the news coverage of them.

When these respondents were asked which candidates impressed them the most — they were allowed up to three choices — the top answers were Harris, Warren, Buttigieg and Biden.

And interest in the Democratic primary race remains high, with a combined 82 percent of primary voters saying they’re “very closely” or “somewhat closely” following the contest.

“We know they are paying attention,” McInturff, the GOP pollster, said.

The NBC/WSJ poll was conducted July 7-9 of 800 total registered voters — more than half reached by cellphone — and that has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.5 percentage points.

Among the 400 Democratic primary voters surveyed, the margin of error is plus-minus 4.9 percentage points.

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Jo Swinson preparing to demand ANOTHER election as well as scrap Brexit -‘Lost the plot!’

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LIBERAL DEMOCRATS leader Jo Swinson has admitted she is willing to throw the country into further chaos in the coming months by demanding another general election if no party receives a majority in the upcoming national vote.

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Washington state voters reject restoring affirmative action

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Washington voters have rejected a measure that would have overturned the state’s decadeslong ban on affirmative action — forcing state Democrats and advocates back to the drawing board.

“We’re obviously disappointed,” said April Sims, co-chair of Washington Fairness, the coalition that led the effort to approve the referendum. “But we remain committed to equity, opportunity and fairness — and that means a level playing field for everyone in Washington state.”

As mail-in ballots continued to be counted in the days after the general election on Nov. 5, advocates remained cautiously optimistic that the measure — which was narrowly trailing for much of the week — would experience a late boost.

On Tuesday night, with voters rejecting the measure by less than 1 percent, Washington Fairness conceded.

Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, said in a statement that the measure was an attempt to address “systemic inequities” that persist in work and education opportunities, and he will “continue to explore options that increase access to equitable opportunities and resources that reduce inequality.”

Earlier this year, the state’s Democratic-controlled Legislature pushed through an initiative to restore affirmative action shortly before the legislative session closed, but opponents moved quickly to block the law with a referendum.

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The political action committee Let People Vote opposed the Legislature’s move and collected over 200,000 signatures to place the issue on the Election Day ballot, handing its fate over to Washington voters.

John Carlson, a political commentator who spearheaded the campaign to strike down affirmative action in Washington over two decades ago, said that the measure’s passage would have been “unprecedented.”

“We’ve been moving in the direction of minimizing rather than magnifying race,” Carlson said in an interview before Election Day.

In 1998, Washingtonians passed an initiative that prohibited “preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin” within the public sector. It remains one of the nation’s longest-standing affirmative action bans.

Supporters of overturning the ban argued that since then, people of color have been discouraged from applying to public universities, and women and minorities have suffered from receiving fewer government contracts for their small businesses.

“This measure sent a strong message that Washington values fairness, and Washingtonians aren’t blind to the fact that the deck has been stacked against people of color and other marginalized individuals in our communities for decades, even centuries,” said Alison Holcomb, the political strategies director for ACLU of Washington.

However, Linda Yang, head of Washington Asians for Equality, voiced concern that the law would have adversely affected Washington’s Asian American community. She noted that in the absence of race-based affirmative action policies, 27 percent of the University of Washington freshmen enrolled this fall were Asian — compared with 8 percent of the statewide population.

“Our coalition of volunteers from across the political spectrum defeated [the measure] because voters didn’t want a new system of quotas based on race, nor did they want a massive new unaccountable government bureaucracy to implement it,” Yang said in a statement Tuesday night.

Asian Americans have recently become embroiled in the national debate surrounding affirmative action, with a high-profile lawsuit against Harvard alleging that its admissions process intentionally discriminated against Asian American applicants. In October, a federal judge ruled in favor of the university.

Currently, seven other states — Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire and Oklahoma — have bans on affirmative action. In 2014, California considered repealing its ban, but efforts ultimately tapered out amid fierce pushback from Asian Americans, among other groups.

Advocates of affirmative action remain hopeful that such policies will eventually be restored in Washington and in other states across the country.

“We ran a campaign that we are really proud of,” Sims said. “The results of this election show that nearly half of the folks who voted are ready to have that conversation, and we’re prepared to engage with them.”

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Jeremy Corbyn BLUNDER: Labour leader ‘did not know’ ISIS leader ‘blew himself up’

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JEREMY CORBYN has come under more fire for suggesting ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi should have been arrested and put on trial.

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