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Who is Cory Booker?
Current job: US Senator from New Jersey. Running for president of the United States as a Democratic candidate.
Family: Booker is not married but is dating actress and activist Rosario Dawson.
Hometown: Newark, New Jersey
Political party: Democratic
Previous jobs: Attorney. Newark city councilman from 1998 to 2002. Mayor of Newark from 2006 to 2013.
Who is Cory Booker’s direct competition for the nomination?
Based on a recurring series of national surveys we conduct, we can figure out who the other candidates competing in Cory Booker’s lane are, and who the broader opponents are within the party.
- The average Booker-satisfied respondent said they were satisfied with 5.5 other candidates, which is pretty high: it means that people who like him tend to be considering several other choices. To stay competitive, he’ll want to be in line with the top candidates in the race, for whom that number is less than 4. Just 2 percent of his supporters liked him and him alone.
- Booker’s fans are massive fans of Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Fully 80% of those satisfied with Booker are also satisfied with Warren, which is near 20 points better than Warren’s performance among Democrats overall.
- Business Insider
- Nearly three quarters of those content with Booker as nominee would also be satisfied with Sen. Kamala Harris as nominee. That satisfaction rate is roughly 25 percentage points higher than Harris’ satisfaction among Democrats overall!
- Vice President Joe Biden and Mayor Pete Buttigieg are also well-liked among Booker supporters.
The takeaway is that Booker has considerable overlap with serious contenders, and this could go well – people identify him as a consensus candidate – or it could go disastrously: his potential support is divided among rivals.
Insider has been conducting a recurring poll through SurveyMonkey Audience on a national sample to find out how different candidate’s constituencies overlap. We ask people whether they are familiar with a candidate, whether they would be satisfied or unsatisfied with that candidate as nominee, and sometimes we also ask whether they think that person would win or lose in a general election against President Donald Trump.
What are Cory Booker’s policy positions?
- On healthcare:
- Booker in 2017 signed on as a co-sponsor of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All Act, a plan to eliminate private insurance and provide universal healthcare to Americans via Medicare.
- The senator was criticized in 2017 by some Democrats for voting against a measure that would’ve allowed for cheaper drugs by importing them from Canada, but has since reversed his position.
- Booker as a presidential candidate has offered somewhat confusing answers on healthcare. In early February, he said he would not do away with private healthcare altogether, which is a central aspect of the Medicare for All plan he co-sponsored in 2017.
- Booker has since repeatedly signaled that he supports Medicare for All as part of his campaign platform. “We need Medicare for all,” he said in a tweet on March 21.
- On immigration:
- Booker is a staunch proponent of comprehensive immigration reform.
- He supports the Obama-era “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) program, which protects from deportation young undocumented people who came to the US as children.
- In July 2018, Booker was among a group of Senate Democrats who introduced the Keep Families Together Act, which aimed at keeping immigrant families together and preventing Homeland Security from separating children from their parents at the border.
- Booker has been a vocal opponent of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, describing them as “abhorrent” and standing in “stark contrast to America’s most fundamental ideals.”
- On climate change:
- Booker supports the Green New Deal, a radical road map of future legislation to transition the US to 100% clean and renewable energy within a decade, in concert with federal investments in clean-energy jobs.
- “The hard truth is climate change has imperiled our planet – it’s going to take bold action now to save it including dramatic investment in green energy that will create the jobs of the future. We can do this,” Booker said in February.
- Booker said during July’s Democratic debate in Detroit that climate change “must be the issue and the lens with which we view every issue.” He added that he wants to rejoin the Paris climate accord but also go much further to curb carbon emissions.
- Booker in early September unveiled a $3 trillion plan to tackle climate change that would aim to make the US a 100 percent carbon neutral economy by 2045.
- On campaign finance:
- Booker says he doesn’t want the support of a corporate super PAC, but one has been created in support of his campaign and he reportedly hasn’t explicitly spoken out against it.
- “My election will be run and powered by the people. That’s why we’re not taking corporate money, federal lobbyist money, pharma executive money,” Booker said in February.
- Nearly 68% of Booker’s campaign funding between 2013 and 2018 came from large individual contributions of more than $200, according to OpenSecrets, a project of the Center for Responsive Politics. Almost 10% has come from corporate PACs.
- Booker was the top recipient of Wall Street money in the 2014 election cycle.
- On abortion:
- On LGBTQ rights:
- Booker has been a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage for years and presided over the state of New Jersey’s first same-sex weddings as mayor of Newark. But he’s also admitted to having evolved on his views toward to LGBTQ community over time.
- Early on in his career as a senator, Booker co-sponsored the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which barred workplace discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Booker has been highly critical of Trump’s ban on transgender people from serving in the military. “Mr. President, trans military members have sacrificed far more than you ever have – or will,” Booker said in a July 2017 statement.
- On education:
- Booker is somewhat of an outlier among Democrats due to his past support for both charter schools and private schools.
- Booker co-sponsored the Debt Free College Act, which was reintroduced in March, that aims to provide states incentives via matching grants to increase investments in public higher education and provide students with debt-free college. The bill aims to address the student loan crisis, which Booker says “punishes” young people for “seeking an education.”
- Booker in early October unveiled a plan to “end exploitation in sports,” including college athletes, and women in sports at various levels. The plan, in part, would allow college athletes to earn money for the use of their names and images.
- On Supreme Court and congressional issues:
- Booker has expressed support for eliminating the Electoral College.
- Booker’s position on eliminating the Senate filibuster is unclear. He’s expressed concern over removing it, stating that GOP leadership “would have hurt people in my community” if the filibuster didn’t exist.
- Booker has not outright supported expanding the number of justices on the Supreme Court, but did say, “I think I would like to start exploring a lot of options and we should have a national conversation. Term limits for Supreme Court justices might be one thing.”
- Booker has expressed support for automatic voter registration for 18-year-olds.
- Booker thinks Election Day should be a national holiday and has called for a new Voting Rights Act.
- On guns:
- Booker is a strong proponent of stricter gun laws.
- Booker is in favor of universal background checks and sponsored the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017, legislation to ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
- “Gun violence is an epidemic in this country – we have a responsibility to take this seriously and pass legislation that will curb the violence and take care of survivors and their families,” Booker said in a tweet in late March.
- Booker pushed for immediate action to reduce gun violence after the August mass shootings in Texas and Ohio at the September Democratic debate. “I’m happy that people like Beto O’Rourke are showing such courage now and coming forward … but this is – what I’m sorry about, I’m sorry that it had to take issues coming to my neighborhood or personally affecting Beto to suddenly make us demand change,” Booker said.
- On criminal justice reform:
- Booker is perhaps best known for his work on criminal justice reform.
- Booker won a big legislative victory in 2018 with the passage of the First Step Act, which he initially sponsored back in 2015, a bill that aims to reduce mass incarceration at the federal level. Trump signed it into law.
- The senator followed up the success of the First Step Act by introducing the Next Step Act in early March, which he said pushes for “bolder, more progressive criminal justice reform.” The expansive bill aims to reduce mandatory sentences for nonviolent drug offenses and reduce recidivism, among other goals.
- Booker has focused heavily on combatting police brutality as well as barriers former inmates face in gaining employment after they’re released.
- Booker supports the legalization of marijuana at the federal level and has introduced legislation to that effect.
- During the fifth Democratic 2020 debate in Atlanta, Georgia, on November 20, Booker said he thought former Vice President Joe Biden “might have been high” for stating that he opposes legalizing marijuana because it could be a “gateway drug.”
- Booker supports enfranchising people with felony records, stating that laws that bar former prisoners from voting are “a way, I think, that poor people especially – low-income people are being stripped of their democratic power.”
- Booker in early April introduced a bill to research reparations for the descendants of slaves.
- On trade:
- Booker has not been particularly outspoken on trade issues but did oppose giving former President Barack Obama fast-track trade authority in negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in 2015.
- Booker also once said trade deals like NAFTA, which Trump has often criticized, need to be “much more fair to US companies.”
- On foreign policy:
- Booker sits on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
- Booker recently voted in favor of a resolution to end US support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen, going against Trump on the issue.
- Booker has joined many US lawmakers who’ve called for the US to reassess its relationship with Saudi Arabia following journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing.
- The senator has called for a reexamination of the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which was passed in the days after the 9/11 attacks and has given presidents broad authority to wage war against terrorism.
- Booker has been critical of Trump’s abruptly-announced plans to withdraw US troops from Syria and Afghanistan, but in January voted against a resolution warning against these moves.
- Booker has described himself as a “staunch advocate for a strengthened relationship with Israel.”
- Booker voted in favor of a $716 billion defense budget for 2019 – one of the biggest defense budgets in modern US history.
- The New Jersey senator called for repairing relationships with key international allies and blasted Trump’s coziness with authoritarian leaders at the September Democratic debate. “We cannot go up against China alone. This is a president that has a better relationship with dictators like Duterte and Putin than he does with Merkel and Macron,” Booker said.
- On taxes:
- Booker has not as of yet offered explicit economic plans regarding taxes as part of his 2020 campaign.
- The senator does have a “baby bonds” plan to address wealth inequality, however, which would annually grant every native-born child in the US a set amount of money.
- “It would be a dramatic change in our country to have low-income people break out of generational poverty,” Booker said of the “baby bonds” plan in an interview with Vox. “We could rapidly bring security into those families’ lives, and that is really exciting to me.”
- Booker in April unveiled a proposal to cut taxes for more than 150 million Americans. The “Rise Credit” plan would expand the earned income tax credit, which benefits low and middle-income workers.
What are Cory Booker’s political successes?
- While not a policy achievement, Booker gained fame as mayor of Newark for saving a woman from a burning house, carrying her out of the building as it went up in flames.
- Booker gets mixed reviews on the enduring impact of his policies as mayor of Newark, but brought a lot of attention to the city and is often credited for attracting businesses and investment.
- Booker helped convince Facebook to pledge $100 million toward improving Newark’s schools (though the results of that donation have been debated).
- Booker is a national figure when it comes to criminal justice reform, and was instrumental garnering bipartisan support behind legislation aimed at reducing mass incarceration that was signed into law by President Donald Trump last year.
How much money has Cory Booker raised?
- Booker’s campaign said it raised $5 million over the course of February and March, and over $6.1 million in cash on hand.
- Booker raised $4.5 million in the second quarter of 2019, and $6 million in 2019’s third quarter, reporting $4.2 million in cash on hand.
How is Cory Booker viewed by voters compared to the competition?
Insider has conducted a number of other polls to check in on how these candidates are perceived in comparison to one another. When we asked respondents to one poll to rank how far to the left or to the right they considered the candidates, Booker was generally considered to be one the third-most left-leaning candidates in the field. Booker was among the more experienced candidates int the field by far when we asked respondents to rank the candidates based on how prepared they are for the rigors of the presidency given what they knew about their history of public service and experience with government. And when asked how likable or personable respondents perceived the candidates to be, Booker was in the top half og candidates.
Could Cory Booker beat President Trump?
Referring back to Insider’s recurring poll, Cory Booker overall is believed to be a fairly ordinary candidate if weaker in a general election against Donald Trump compared to the whole field. Booker is just shy of the average when it comes to his perceived perform acne against Trump compared to the general Democratic average.
How do Democratic voters feel about Cory Booker’s qualifications?
Insider has conducted polling about how voters feel about candidate attributes or qualifications. We asked respondents about a list of possible qualifications and if they made them more likely or less likely to vote for a candidate for president.
For example, among respondents who said they’d vote in the Democratic primary, 19% said a candidate being a college professor made them likelier to support them, while 4% said it made them less likely to, for a +15% net favorability. We can then see how different candidates’ resumes stack up compared to those preferences.
Attributes perceived as most valuable include his released tax returns (+43%), position in the Senate (+40%), past as an activist (+28%), that he is multi-lingual (+25%), age 50 or younger (+23%), a Rhodes scholar (+12%) with an Ivy league education (+7%) and a lawyer (+3%).
Attributes considered to be a liability based on the preferences of self-reported Democratic voters include that he grew up wealthy (-42%).
More recently, an Insider poll found that while Booker is well-liked among Democratic primary voters, only 3% of voters pick Booker as their first choice in Morning Consult. His national average in Real Clear Politics’ polling average is 1.8%.
Read more of our best stories on Cory Booker:
- Cory Booker is widely liked by 2020 Democratic voters, but only 3% of voters support him as their first choice
- Beto O’Rourke dropped out of the 2020 race. Here’s who stands to gain from his surprising exit
- Jon Bon Jovi sent out the latest fundraising email for Senator Cory Booker’s struggling campaign