The 2020 Democratic presidential candidates who would benefit most if these 13 mid-tier contenders dropped out of the race

Bill de Blasio dropped out of the race on September 20.

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Bill de Blasio dropped out of the race on September 20.
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Lucas Jackson/Reuters

  • The bloated Democratic primary field is quickly narrowing down, and the inevitable spate of dropouts will likely benefit the top-tier of the field and enable them to consolidate more support.
  • In the past month alone, five candidates called it quits after failing to meet the stricter requirements to qualify for the September and October DNC debates.
  • To help make sense of where all these candidates stand relative to eachother, Insider has been conducting a recurring SurveyMonkey Audience national poll.
  • Here’s a look at which top-tier Democratic candidates will benefit the most from 13 lower and mid-tier contenders dropping out, according to Insider polling.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The bloated Democratic primary field is quickly narrowing down, and the inevitable spate of dropouts will likely benefit the top-tier of the field and enable them to consolidate more support.

In the past month alone, five lower-tier candidates called it quits after failing to meet the stricter requirements to qualify for the September and October DNC debates, which required candidates to earn 130,000 individual donors and reach 2% in four DNC-approved polls.

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper dropped out to run for US Senate in Colorado, Gov. Jay Inslee quit the race to run for a third term as governor of Washington, and Rep. Seth Moulton also left the race to run for re-election in Massachusetts.

Two of the three New York elected officials originally in the primary have also dropped out. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand ended her campaign in late August after failing to crack 2% in the polls or qualify for the September debate, and Mayor Bill de Blasio did the same on September 20.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is set to gain from de Blasio dropping out since about three-quarters of de Blasio supporters like Biden, which is considerably higher than Biden’s performance among the entire Democratic primary electorate.

Read more: Bill de Blasio drops out of 2020 race, after languishing for months behind Democratic rivals

To help make sense of where all these candidates stand relative to eachother, Insider has been conducting a recurring SurveyMonkey Audience national poll. (Read more about how the Insider 2020 Democratic primary tracker works here).

At this point in the race, we’re mainly interested in using our polling to figure out:

  • What percentage of Democratic voters are familiar with each candidate in the first place.
  • How Democrats rate each candidate’s chances of beating President Donald Trump in the general election.
  • If a given candidate were to drop out of the race, who that candidate’s supporters would flock to next.

Here’s a look at which top-tier Democratic candidates will benefit the most from 13 lower and mid-tier contenders dropping out, according to Insider polling.


Tom Steyer

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Tom Steyer.
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Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Steyer, a billionaire financier and liberal activist, launched his campaign in July and pledged to spend $100 million on his own campaign.

Steyer hasn’t been in the race very long and is likely to stay in it for a while since he’s self-funding his campaign. But our polling indicates that fairly mainstream, popular Democrats would benefit the most from dropping out.

Biden, Warren, Booker, and Sen. Kamala Harris are more well-liked among Steyer supporters than less establishment-associated candidates like Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Read more about Tom Steyer’s campaign.


Marianne Williamson

Williamson, an author and spiritual guru, gained attention and became an Internet meme for her performance at the first two Democratic debates, but has failed to gain much traction in the polls.

Sanders and Warren are far popular among Williamson supporters than more establishment-aligned candidates like Biden and Harris, and would stand the best chance of winning over the 1% of the electorate that supports Williamson.

Read more about Marianne Williamson’s campaign.


Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio

Ryan is running as a champion of the Rust Belt and the working class, but has considerably struggled in the shadow of Biden. About three-quarters of Ryan supporters like Biden, and around two-thirds also like Harris and Warren.

But Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Ryan’s fellow Midwesterner in the race, would benefit the most. She performs about 25 percentage points better among Ryan supporters than the Democratic primary electorate as a whole.

Read more about Tim Ryan’s campaign.


Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii

Unsurprisingly, about 70% of Gabbard supporters like Sanders, who like Gabbard, is running on a progressive, anti-war platform.

Warren, the other major progressive candidate in the race, is also in a good position to gain from Gabbard dropping out.

Read more about Tulsi Gabbard’s campaign.


Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland

About three-quarters of Delaney’s supporters also like Biden, another business-friendly political centrist from the mid-Atlantic region.

Klobuchar and former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, however, also have disproportionate support among Delaney supporters, meaning they will benefit when Delaney – who is self-funding his campaign -eventually drops out.

However, just over 1% of respondents in Insider polling and other national polls support Delaney in the first place.

Read more about John Delaney’s campaign.


Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana

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Steve Bullock, Governor of Montana.
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Mike Blake/Reuters

Around 80% of Bullock supporters also like Biden and about three-quarters support Warren, too.

Klobuchar, Castro, and Sen. Michael Bennet – the other 2020 candidate from the Rocky Mountain region – also enjoy disproportionate support among Bullock’s backers.

Read more about Steve Bullock’s campaign.


Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado

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Michael Bennet
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Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Predictably, 80% of Bennet supporters like Biden, one of the most ideologically similar candidates to Bennet in the race. Another 75% like Warren, and around 70% also like Buttigieg and Harris.

Klobuchar also does particularly well among Bennet supporters.

Read more about Michael Bennet’s campaign.


Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro

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Julian Castro
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Jim Waton/AFP/Getty Images

Fellow progressive candidates Warren and Harris each enjoy around 80% support among Castro supporters, setting them up to benefit when Castro leaves the race.

Booker too is liked by 70% of Castro supporters, about 30% higher than his performance among the entire electorate.

Read more about Julian Castro’s campaign.


Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota

Harris and Warren, two of the other female senators in the race, would be the biggest beneficiaries of Klobuchar dropping out, with both enjoying around 75% among Klobuchar’s supporters.

Read more about Amy Klobuchar’s campaign.


Andrew Yang

Yang is running his presidential campaign around a unique platform of giving every American a universal basic income of $1,000 a month and transforming the American economy to adapt to increasing automation and digitization of industries like manufacturing and retail.

Unsurprisingly, around two-thirds of Yang supporters also like both Sanders and Warren – the other two main candidates in the 2020 field race arguing for big, structural economic changes.

Read more about Andrew Yang’s campaign.


Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas

O’Rourke become a national Democratic superstar for coming within three percentage points of Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas’ 2018 Senate race, shattering fundraising records along the way.

While O’Rourke has qualified for the fall debates, he’s struggled throughout his entire campaign to maintain traction and get his message across in the shadow of other candidates.

Biden and Warren would be the main beneficiaries of O’Rourke dropping out, with about two-thirds of O’Rourke’s supporters also liking those two candidates.

Read more about Beto O’Rourke’s campaign.


Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey

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Democratic U.S. Presidential candidate Senator Cory Booker
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Reuters

Booker, who is running his campaign on a message of unity and love, has qualified for the fall debates and is looking to consolidate his support in key primary states – and chip away at Biden’s lead among African-American voters.

About three-quarters of Booker supporters also like his Senate colleagues Harris and Warren, putting them in a good position to consolidate his support when he eventually drops out.

Read more about Cory Booker’s campaign.


Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana

Buttigieg went from being a little-known Midwestern mayor to experiencing a meteoric rise in the Democratic primary field, out-raising every other candidate last quarter, and qualifying for the fall debates, meaning he’s likely to stick around for a while.

About 70% of Buttigieg supporters also like Warren and Harris, and about half of Buttigieg’s current backers also like Booker, who over-performs among that group relative to the Democratic primary electorate as a whole.

Read more about Pete Buttigieg’s campaign.

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