Some Americans are just not buying the idea of Oprah running for president. A new Morning Consult/Politico poll found that just 24 percent of 2,000 registered voters surveyed actually want her to compete for the White House in 2020.
Fifty-nine percent do not think she should run while 17 percent said they weren’t sure or had no opinion on the matter.
“If you were watching cable news the Monday after the Golden Globes, you would have thought the numbers would say 99 percent of Americans want her to run,” explained Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television & Popular Culture at Syracuse University.
“Certainly polls have their limitations, but these numbers don’t quite indicate that degree of enthusiasm,” he said.
The poll found that she would be leading Trump by 2 percentage points, 40 percent to 38 percent if the election were today.
Furthermore, the billionaire media mogul would also beat out several potential Democratic candidates if she were to run against them in the primaries, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
She would, however, lose to both Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders — 54 percent to 31 percent and 46 percent to 37 percent, respectively, if they were to go head-to-head, the poll shows.
“Oprah’s strong standing among Democrats does not translate to a clear interest in her launching a presidential campaign,” said Kyle Dropp, co-founder and chief research officer of Morning Consult. “While 77 percent of Democrats have a favorable opinion of Oprah, only 38 percent say she should run in 2020.”
The “Oprah 2020” rumors were sparked earlier this month following her emotional speech at the Golden Globe Awards, in which she touched upon the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements sweeping the nation recently.
Winfrey’s non-political stance resonated with viewers and ultimately got social media users talking about a possible run. Most experts have been skeptical.
“People like Oprah because they’ve watched her do amazing things for 30 years now,” said Doug Heye, the former spokesman for the Republican National Committee and current CNN contributor. “Yeah, she supported candidates in the past, but being a candidate yourself opens you up to all kinds of political attacks.”
Winfrey had remained in the shadows during presidential elections before Barack Obama, never once endorsing a candidate until he ran.
“I don’t consider myself political, and I seldom interview politicians,” she said in 2008 during a sit-down with the then-president.
“So when I decided to talk with you [Barack], people around me were like, ‘What’s happened to you?’ I said, ‘I think this is beyond and above politics.’ It feels like something new.”
Sixty-two percent of voters described Winfrey as liberal, while six in 10 Republicans described her as “very liberal.”
Democrats favored her over Trump, 73 percent to 9 percent, while Republicans backed the president, 76 percent to 11 percent, and Independents leaned toward Winfrey, 35 percent to 30 percent — with another 35 percent undecided.
“People think she’s liberal because they associate her with Hollywood,” said Brad Anderson, political strategist out of Iowa. “That could all change once she starts talking about issues.”
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