Democrats in early contest states overwhelmingly say they want a candidate who can beat President Trump, and voters inassessed the chances of the candidates they are considering. A nominee's prospects are not an easy thing for voters to gauge — even professional campaign consultants and politicos have a challenge doing it. But in a year when Democrats seem so focused on electability, a key test for candidates this debate season will surely be convincing Democratic voters they're up to that task.
At the moment, former Vice President Joe Biden elicits the most confidence from his potential backers: 75% of those considering a vote for Biden think he "probably would win" against Mr. Trump, and another quarter think "maybe" he could win.
Other candidates may have a little more work to do among their potential backers in this regard. Among those considering Sen. Bernie Sanders, 51% think he'd "probably" beat the president. Thirty-nine percent of those considering Sen. Elizabeth Warren think she'd "probably" win, and half classify her chances as "maybe." Thirty-six percent of those considering Sen. Kamala Harris think she would probably win, and 50% classify her chances as "maybe" right now; 32% of those thinking of backing Beto O'Rourke think he'd probably win; 30% of those considering Pete Buttigieg see him as "probably" winning; and 27% of those each considering Sens. Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar think they'd probably win.
These figures are among voters who are currently considering supporting each of these candidates, respectively. So even when some of their prospects don't seem overwhelmingly high, these voters are still considering the candidate nonetheless. But it also shows that many of these candidates have work to do building confidence in their ability win, if they're to convert consideration into solid support.