KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – Voters in 14 states will head to the polls for Super Tuesday in just seven days, and a week later, voters in Missouri get their turn to cast their primary ballots.
There are 78 delegates are up for grabs in the Show-Me State, and KCTV5 News has an exclusive look at how Missouri voters currently view the field of Democratic candidates running to face President Donald Trump in November.
Former Vice President Joe Biden showed the highest level of support in the poll taken late last week, picking up 22.4 percent of the overall audience. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was close behind with 17.4 percent, with “undecided” garnering the third highest response with 17.3 percent.
Biden’s lead tracks with prior surveys this season and shows how the state’s conservative leanings are even affecting the Democratic primary. The majority of Missouri Democrats who responded to the poll describe themselves as “Moderate” or “Liberal,” with only 10.9 percent saying they were “very liberal.”
The polling also showed Biden has strong backing from women and African American voters. Men have a more even distribution among the candidates, but their top pick is Bloomberg. It doesn’t hurt that Bloomberg has already spent almost $8 million in ads.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont may be leading in the national polls, but the likely Democratic votes in Missouri placed him just behind South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, with Sanders pulling in 11 percent and Buttigieg getting 11.2 percent.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is the only other candidate in the field in double-digits, with 10.2 percent. Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar is next at 8.8 percent, with billionaire Tom Steyer and Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii at the bottom of the polls with 1.3 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.
When it comes to the issues, voters said the ability to beat President Trump in the general election tops the policies of the Democratic candidates. More than 57 percent of respondents said electability in November was more important than the policies, which 32.2 percent of those polled cited as more important.
Pollster Brian Graham said support may shift as Missouri voters determine who’s the strongest candidate.
“If a candidate is not viable when a candidate gets to Missouri, their number is going to drop a lot,” Graham explained.
So, while Biden is top in Missouri now, how he fares in South Carolina’s primary Saturday and on Super Tuesday could help or hurt him in the eyes of Missouri Democrats.
KCTV5 News also wanted to know about the most important issues in this race, so voters were asked about a number of topics. Overwhelmingly, health care was the top issue for respondents, followed by the environment, guns and the economy. Foreign policy and immigration were the least important issues called out in the survey.
The Missouri Democratic Party will be hosting a presidential candidate forum two days before the Missouri primary.