Politics

7 in 10 Democrats say it’s ‘important’ Biden name woman of color as running mate: poll

The vast majority of Democrats say it’s “important” that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden name a woman of color as his running mate, according to a new national poll.

The USA Today/Suffolk University survey also shows that a plurality of Republican voters said that it would be acceptable for President Trump to replace Vice President Pence as his running mate with former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

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Thirty-five percent of Democrats questioned in the poll said it was “very important” to them that Biden’s running mate be a woman of color – with another 37 percent saying it was “somewhat important.” Only 26 percent offered that it was “not very” or “not at all” important.

The former vice president announced in March that he would name a woman as his running mate. Calls have increased the past five weeks for Biden to name a woman of color, amid nationwide protests over police brutality toward minorities and systemic racism sparked by the death of handcuffed black man George Floyd while in the custody of Minnesota police.

Among the black candidates Biden’s thought to be considering are Sen. Kamala Harris of California, Rep. Val Demings of Florida, who is a former Orlando police chief, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, former Georgia House leader and 2018 gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, and Susan Rice, a former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under President Obama.

Thirty-five percent of Democrats polled said they would be excited if Harris was named as the party’s vice presidential nominee, with 28 percent saying the same thing about Abrams, and 27 percent saying they would be excited if progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was named the running mate. Warren, who is white, and Harris were rivals of Biden during the Democratic presidential primaries before suspending their campaigns and backing the former vice president.

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Biden told reporters Tuesday during a news conference that he had prepared a list of “women of color” for consideration – but he wouldn’t announce a decision until August.

“There are a number of women of color. There are Latino women. There are Asian. There are — across the board. And we’re just underway now in the hard vet of going into the deep background checks that take anywhere from six to eight weeks to be done,” Biden explained.

Thirty-five percent of Republican voters questioned said they would accept the president replacing Pence with Haley as his running mate, with another 11 percent saying the move would be exciting. Twenty-one percent said replacing Pence would not be acceptable and 6 percent said they’d be angry with such a move. One in four were undecided.

The president has pushed back against speculation that he would dump Pence for Haley.

“Mike Pence — I know I’ve seen this rumor that keeps popping up, and Nikki would be great, but Mike Pence has done a phenomenal job as vice president,” Trump said late last year in an interview on “Fox and Friends.”  “He’s our guy, he’s my friend, and look, we have a great team. Mike Pence is a great vice president. He’s our man 100 percent.”

Former Trump national security adviser John Bolton in his new book “The Room Where It Happened” said that he believed the speculation of replacing Pence with Haley was being promoted behind the scenes by Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

The USA Today poll was conducted by Suffolk University June 25-29, with 1,000 registered voters nationwide — including 345 Democrats and 287 Republicans — questioned by live telephone operators. The survey’s overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. The margin of error for the Democratic sample is plus or minus 5.3 percentage points; for the Republican sample it is 5.8 points.

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