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Cory Booker’s campaign has a key advantage that’s also a disadvantage



Democratic Sen. Cory Booker’s 2020 campaign has gotten off to a slow start and he’s lagged behind in both the polls and fundraising.

As things currently stand, Booker’s path to the nomination is particularly arduous.

Still, when you drill down into the data compiled over the course of INSIDER’s satisfaction-based polling, there’s a serious case to be made that Booker has a key advantage that at worst suggests he could be a strong running mate for virtually any other candidate, and at best indicates onlookers are underestimating him.

In short: the supporters of a large swath of candidates also disproportionately like the New Jersey senator. This effect is observed even when Booker’s supporters don’t disproportionately like those 2020 Democrats.

Read more: Cory Booker introduced a Senate bill to research reparations, taking the lead on an increasingly important issue for 2020 Democrats

For example, 29% of respondents who liked Booker also liked Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, which is five percentage points ahead of typical Democratic voter opinion. But close to 64% of respondents who liked Gillibrand also liked Booker, which is 20 percentage points above typical Democratic opinion.

Similarly, while just 32% of Booker supporters also liked Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, which is 17 percentage points below typical Democratic opinion, roughly 54% of Buttigieg’s constituency liked Booker, which is 11 percentage points above his satisfaction rate among typical Democrats.

Booker is liked by a majority of the supporters of former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, former Housing and Urban Development Director Julian Castro, Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee, Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

That fact alone is remarkable, as there are few candidates who can say the same.

The polling also showed that Booker’s supporters tend to have positive views of some of the leading contenders, which means if he hopped on their ticket it would be an easy sell to his followers.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the current 2020 frontrunner, is liked by 73% of Booker’s supporters, the polling showed. And roughly three-in-10 of Biden’s supporters — a notoriously picky bunch who tend to be much more skeptical of non-Biden contenders than your typical primary voter — would also be satisfied with Booker.

Read more: Here’s how Americans rank the 2020 presidential candidates on the political spectrum

Meanwhile, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, who is also a top contender, is liked by 66% of Booker’s supporters, 14 percentage points above her typical performance among primary voters. Nearly half of Harris’ constituency (just shy of 50%) have a favorable view of the New Jersey senator.

Though Booker isn’t popular enough to obtain frontrunner status, in a broad field of candidates he’s got remarkably steady favorability across the board.

If the disadvantage here is that this doesn’t yet catapult him to the top of the polls, the advantage is that it makes him a viable option as a running mate for any number of candidates who might clinch the nomination, and the potential beneficiary of their support in the event one of the frontrunners flames out.

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