New Poll Reveals Doubts Voters Have on a Potential Kamala Harris Presidency

By: Alex Trent | Published: Jun 12, 2024

President Joe Biden is facing criticism over his age and ability to run for President this election cycle. However, a new Politico/Morning Consult Poll reveals that his runner-up, Kamala Harris, is causing her own reservations in voters’ minds.

The poll found that only around a third of voters think that Harris has a likely chance to win the presidential election if she were to become the Democrat nominee.

National Poll

The new poll from Morning Consult and Politico was conducted between May 28 and May 29 on almost 4,000 registered voters across the United States including topics around Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Kamala Harris, and others.

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A close-up of the American flag.

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The poll asked respondents a series of questions with set responses around their feelings about political candidates and figures, claiming to have a plus or minus 2% margin for error.

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Survey of the Field

One of the questions in the survey asked respondents to choose from a list of potential answers who they would want to be the Democratic candidate for president if Joe Biden was not running.

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Side-by-side photos of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

The White House and United States Senate/Wikimedia Commons

The top answer given by 41% of respondents was “don’t know/no opinion.” Harris ranked highest among the named answers at 21%, followed by Pete Buttigieg at 10% and Gavin Newsom also at 10%.

Ability to Win

Only one-third of voters surveyed think Harris has the ability to win a presidential contest as the Democratic nominee.

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Vice President Kamala Harris delivering a speech at an outdoor event, wearing a light gray suit

Source: KamalaHarris/X

Even among Democrats, Harris only fares a little better. Three out of five Democrats thought she could win an election, while only a quarter of independents thought the same.

Kamala Harris’ Leadership

The survey then goes on to ask questions related to qualities Harris might have. On the question of “Is Kamala Harris a strong leader” only 21% of respondents said this describes her perfectly.

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Vice President Kamala Harris smiling and speaking at a podium with an American flag backdrop during a public address

Source: KamalaHarris/X

The top response, with 38%, said that strong leadership “Doesn’t describe [Kamala] at all.”

Harris’ Trustworthiness

Again on the question of trustworthiness, the top answer with the most respondents thought that the quality of trustworthiness didn’t describe Harris “at all.”

Two men shaking hands in a corporate setting

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These results line up with a May USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll which found that only 38% of Americans have a favorable view of Harris, below that of Trump and Biden who are also viewed unfavorably.

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Kamala’s Honesty

When asked if voters think that Harris is honest the numbers were split pretty evenly. 44% of voters think honesty perfectly or somewhat describes Kamala Harris’ character, with the same percentage saying it doesn’t describe her well or at all.

Vice President Kamala Harris is seated at a table during a panel discussion. She is speaking into a microphone

Source: KamalaHarris/X

These questions had five options. Two were positive and two were negative responses. The remaining option for respondents was “don’t know/ no opinion.”

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Ability to Serve

This latest survey underscores the uncertainty felt among American voters about Harris’ ability to serve in the role of president should something prevent Biden from carrying out presidential duties.

A view of the White House Lawn in Washington DC

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In February, ABC News reported that an 86% majority of Americans think Biden is too old to serve as president.

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Staying in Her Lane

A common sentiment felt among Democrats is that Harris has not done enough to distinguish herself as a politician in her role as vice president, which is a common theme among vice presidents.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris sharing a warm embrace at a public event

Source: KamalaHarris/X

“She’s done an admirable job on reproductive health and issues important to the Black community and related to youth. But at the same time, she’s falling into the same spot that many vice presidents fall into, which is that she doesn’t have a very public role outside of her lane,” said RL Miller, a “longtime fan” of Harris and outgoing member of the Democratic National Committee from California.

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Lack of Accomplishments

One possible reason American voters in the survey don’t think Harris has what it takes to be president may have to do with the difficulty of communicating the accomplishments of what she has done for the American people.

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at an event, seated on a stage with a blue background that reads "FREEDOM TO THE". She is wearing a pink blazer and holding a microphone, with a focused expression as she speaks

Source: KamalaHarris/X

“We talk to Americans and they can’t really give voice to all the accomplishments of the president and the vice president, even when they’ve been big and super important,” said Gretchen Barton, a Democratic strategist who has conducted research on voters across swing states. “That’s a real problem because people are ultimately looking for someone who can get things done and they are waiting to hear what’s been delivered.”

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Harris Debate

This election cycle, both Trump and Biden have expressed an unwillingness to debate one another, each at times accusing the other of dodging debates.

Kamala Harris smiling.

The United States Senate/Wikimedia Commons

This opens up an opportunity for the vice presidents to garner more attention for their own election debates this cycle, and a chance for Harris to distinguish herself.

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Good on Issues

Joel K. Goldstein, a historian of vice presidents feels like Harris has been on a good trajectory so far, but just needs to find a way to get attention to turn around the public’s perception of her.

A black silhouette of a person posting a vote in a ballot box.

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“If you look at the trajectory of her vice presidency, it’s really been positive both in terms of the significant international exposure that she’s had and the role she’s played as a spokesperson on issues of that are central to Democratic voters, said Goldstein. “But in this climate, it’s hard for a vice president to get the attention and get the notice.”

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