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Democrats Really Want a Contest for Their Party's Presidential Nod

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Reprinted from The Nation

From flickr.com/photos/22620970@N04/6860127956/: Elizabeth Warren
Elizabeth Warren
(Image by mdfriendofhillary)
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The movement to draft Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren into the Democratic race for the presidency has always faced two big challenges:

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1. Warren says she is not running.

2. Warren trails far behind Hillary Clinton in the polls of voters in the first caucus state of Iowa and the first primary state of New Hampshire. Nationally, the Real Clear Politics average of recent polls puts Clinton at 60 percent. Vice President Joe Biden in in second with 11.4 percent. Then comes Warren with 11.1 percent and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders with 3.4 percent.

The point of the draft movement is to get Warren to address challenge No. 1 by changing her "no" to "yes" and entering the contest. But that change is unlikely to occur if challenge No. 2 is not addressed by polling that suggests a Warren run would be welcome and viable.

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So the "Run Warren Run" draft campaigners hired the YouGov polling organization to survey likely Iowa Democratic caucus goers and New Hampshire Democratic primary voters. What the polling reveals is that...

1. Likely Democratic voters in both states want to see a contest for the Democratic nomination. According to the memorandum analyzing the data, "Virtually all respondents agree with the case for a contested race, with 98% agreeing that a competitive primary is good for the party, candidates and voters."

2. When likely Democratic voters are presented with information about Warren and her populist positions on the issues ranging from trade policy to banking regulation to student loan debt, they become more enthusiastic about her running -- and about backing her in a race that also includes Clinton. Indeed, while a plurality of likely voters remains undecided in each state, Warren moves into a credible lead over Clinton in Iowa (31-24, with 6 percent for Sanders) and a narrower lead in New Hampshire (30-27, with 6 percent for Sanders).

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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