Oprah For President?

NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist National Poll

Oprah Winfrey’s speech at the Golden Globes reignited speculation about a potential 2020 presidential run by the journalist, talk show host, and actress. Despite her popularity and lead in a hypothetical matchup against President Donald Trump, a majority of Americans do not want Oprah to seek the highest office in the land.

When matched against President Donald Trump, 50% of registered voters say they would support Oprah. 39% would vote for Trump, and 11% are undecided. Support breaks along party lines. 91% of Democrats report they would back Oprah, and 85% of Republicans say they would support Trump. Nearly one in ten Republicans (8%) think they would back Oprah. A plurality of independents (46%) say they would vote for Oprah. A notable 17% of independents are undecided.

“Americans’ message to Oprah is, ‘We like you, we would vote for you over Trump, but we don’t want you to run,’” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “The biggest gap occurs among Democrats. 91% of Democrats would vote for Oprah, but only 47% want her to run for president.”

Americans under the age of 45 (58%) and women (59%) are more likely than older Americans (44%) and men (40%) to back Oprah. Of note, voters 45 or older are just as likely (45%) to support Trump. Regional differences also exist. Voters in the Northeast (57%) are more likely than those in any other region to say they would back Oprah. Still, Oprah leads Trump in the West (49% to 38%), South (49% to 41%), and Midwest (47% to 41%).

Oprah also leads Trump among African Americans and Latinos. She receives the support of 87% of African American voters and 61% of Latinos. White voters divide, 45% for Trump to 44% for Oprah.

Oprah is very popular. 64% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Oprah while 23% have an unfavorable one. With the exception of voters which make up President Trump’s base, Republicans (39%), Tea Party supporters (42%), those who identify ideologically as conservative or very conservative (47%), and white evangelical Christians (46%), a majority of Americans have a positive view of Oprah. A notable 51% of those who identify as soft Republicans view Oprah favorably as well as 43% of those who supported Donald Trump in 2016.

However, a majority of Americans (54%) do not want Oprah to run for president. 35% do, and 11% are unsure. African Americans (63%) and Democrats (47%) are among those who would most like to see Oprah run in 2020.

Complete January 12, 2018 NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll Release of the United States
Complete January 12, 2018 NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll of the United States (Tables of Adults and Registered Voters)
Marist Poll Methodology
Nature of the Sample