What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

Amy Walter on clarity and confusion in 2020 Democratic primaries

On Tuesday, three states forged ahead with holding their Democratic primaries despite the extraordinary circumstances the novel coronavirus pandemic has introduced. Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the latest reports from Arizona, Florida and Illinois and the delegate stakes in each state for former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And now to examine how all this fits into the national picture, Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and public radio's "Politics With Amy Walter" joins us on this primary day.

    Where would we be without Amy Walter on a primary voting day?

  • Amy Walter:

    Thank you, Judy.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Although, as we have been saying, Amy, this is one like no other.

  • Amy Walter:

    Right.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Are we going to have — given these problems with turnout, confusion, are we going to have clarity after today in the primary?

  • Amy Walter:

    Well, that is — these are the twin issues, right? We have confusion and clarity at the same time.

    In some ways, we may have some clarity, if — everything that we heard from the reporting on the ground suggests that Joe Biden will be able to come up with wins in all of these states that look similar to what we have seen in the polling.

    We're getting some demographic breakdowns back from places like Illinois and Florida. And it does look as if older voters making up about 60 — and older voters, again, meaning 45 and over — making up about 60 percent of the electorate. That's been pretty consistent.

    So if there's a surge of young voters coming out to keep Bernie Sanders' hopes, political hopes alive, they just haven't come there. We're also seeing that the electorate in Florida not as big in terms of the Latino vote, not as significant as we had seen in 2016.

    So, those two factors suggest that the clarity piece will be that Bernie Sanders, if indeed he doesn't perform well, will be further behind in the delegate count, almost impossible for him to catch up, or even more difficult for him to get the nomination.

    So, the confusing part, though, is, what happens to all these states that are delaying their vote?

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Right.

  • Amy Walter:

    Some of them into late June.

    Remember, the DNC Convention is supposed to be the second week of July.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And, as we just heard in Ohio, some back and forth over whether it's June or whether it's April.

    But you're exactly right, what's going to happen to the conventions, and which is — a lot of people have been asking.

    But I do want to ask you about those voter surveys, Amy.

  • Amy Walter:

    Yes.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    You have been looking at that, the breakdown according to gender, age, and race and so forth.

    And what else are you seeing? You — you also — you mentioned age. And I know you have also got some information on how Americans are viewing the president's handling of the coronavirus crisis.

  • Amy Walter:

    That's right. That's right.

    I mean, we can — as I said, and I think we heard from our reporters on the ground, that even in a state like Illinois, where most of the voting is in person, that that didn't deter older voters, especially those over 60 years old, from turning out.

    When — so you can see there it's about 26 percent 65-plus, those under 30 about 16 percent of the electorate.

    Looking at the coronavirus impact more broadly, this issue of, do you trust the president vs. other sources of information that you trust, we talked about this a little bit last night about we're sort of siloing ourselves once again, the polarization about, do you trust the president do you not trust the president?

    Sixty percent say they do not trust the president, 37 percent yes. Not surprisingly, that breaks down among party lines as well; 75 percent of Republicans do trust the president. Only 8 percent of Democrats do.

    The thing that I think is somewhat hopeful, though, when you see the next slide, which is, what do you think about state and local governments? Your state and local governments, do you trust them?

    And here you have 72 percent saying yes. When it comes to what the mayor or what governor of my state is doing, I trust the information that I'm getting from those folks.

    And we have sort of — we have seen a lot of that on the ground. Right? We're not hearing from communities where there's been only certain precincts agreeing and other precincts not based on their political point of view.

    So, that, to me, is the good piece of all of this, that even as polarized as we are and distrustful of the — many times of the other party that we're not a member of, when it comes to getting and sticking to advice from government officials, voters seem to be confident about that.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And that will be interesting as the weeks and months unfold in front of us, as people look at what the president is saying and what the Democratic nominee for president is saying, and when the president, frankly, has all the levers of power.

    (CROSSTALK)

  • Amy Walter:

    That's right.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    … to do or not do.

    Amy Walter.

    And we will be talking to you later tonight. Thank you very much.

  • Amy Walter:

    You're welcome.

Listen to this Segment

The Latest