Democrats aren’t very enthusiastic about Joseph R. Biden at the top of the party’s ticket, according to exit polling Tuesday that showed only 41% of voters in Missouri and just 31% of voters in Michigan were enthused by the party’s former vice president.
Another 34% in Missouri and 40% in Michigan said they would be satisfied, but not enthusiastic with Mr. Biden, according to CNN’s early tallies of exit polling data.
Michigan voters were more energized about Sen. Bernard Sanders, Mr. Biden’s chief opponent, with 39% saying they would be enthusiastic with him as the presidential nominee.
Not so in Missouri, where only 35% — less than Mr. Biden — would be enthused by a Sanders nomination.
Those Michigan results could be a troubling sign for Democrats, with the state having gone narrowly for President Trump in 2016 and likely to play a major role this November.
Six states voted in Democratic primaries or caucuses on Tuesday, and where exit polling was completed it showed voters liked Mr. Sanders’ major policy item, his “Medicare for All” health plan.
A strong 62% in Mississippi, 59% in Missouri and 57% in Michigan said they backed the idea of government-run health care that crowds out private insurance, just as Mr. Sanders envisions.
Those are similar to the numbers from exit polling last week in the “Super Tuesday” slate of primaries.
The battle between Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders has exposed the deep rift within the Democratic Party, with the more left-wing voters saying it’s time to move beyond the Obama-Biden years and embrace Mr. Sanders’ democratic socialism. The party’s less left-wing voters, though, fear that agenda would cost them the chance to defeat President Trump.
In both states, a strong majority said picking a candidate who can top Mr. Trump was more important to them than backing someone they agree with on every issue.
Mr. Biden cleaned up among those voters.
Mr. Sanders has been promising to bring a surge of new voters into the political process, saying that’s how he would defeat Mr. Trump.
But exit polling showed more than 80% of primary voters Tuesday had voted before in a Democratic primary. And even among the new voters, Mr. Biden still did well, capturing about 40% of them.
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