Hollywood types and the media went absolutely wild for the idea that Oprah Winfrey might challenge Donald Trump for the presidency in 2020, but the average American voters isn’t that excited about the prospect. In a poll taken this week by Politico and Morning Consult, only 38% of registered voters say they want to see the former talk show queen make a run for the White House.
Oprah launched a media frenzy at the Golden Globes – not by announcing that she was in any way interested in running for president, but merely by giving an acceptance speech that hammered the #MeToo point home on a night dedicated to the movement. For some reason, the fact that Oprah was alive and present and giving a speech at the show was enough to lead many celebrities, including Meryl Streep (hell, including NBC) to start hashtagging their Twitter posts with #Oprah2020.
But if the excitement was too much to handle out in Hollyweird, there was a less than enthusiastic echo in the liberal blogosphere. Several bloggers noted Oprah’s long flirtation with scientific quackery – Dr. Oz, the anti-vaccine movement, etc. Others said she was not nearly as divorced from Harvey Weinstein’s culpability as her high-and-mighty speech might have made it sound. Still others lamented the fact that America was considering yet another billionaire celebrity for president instead of looking for someone with actual political experience.
Alas, Democrat voters may not be jumping for joy over the thought of Oprah as nominee, but they do indeed view her more favorably than most of the other potential candidates. Whether that speaks to Oprah’s name recognition or the Democrats’ weak bench is for someone else to decide.
Democratic voters actually prefer Winfrey to some of the party’s potential 2020 candidates. Winfrey would lead Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in a head-to-head primary matchup, 39 percent to 35 percent. And she has a big lead over Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), 44 percent to 23 percent.
But Winfrey trails both Biden, 54 percent to 31 percent, and Sanders, 46 percent to 37 percent — two of Democrats’ best-known possible candidates.
Overall, most voters like Winfrey personally. A 54 percent majority of voters have a favorable opinion of Winfrey, including more than three-quarters of Democrats.
“Oprah’s strong standing among Democrats does not translate to a clear interest in her launching a presidential campaign,” said Kyle Dropp, the co-founder and chief research officer of Morning Consult.
All of this is somewhat academic unless Oprah actually makes a move towards running, which she has not yet done. But it shows that even on the left, there is a considerable divide between what the Hollywood crowd thinks is the right direction for the country and what actual, on-the-ground voters believe.