Oprah Beats Trump In NPR Poll, But Most Americans Don’t Want Her To Run : NPR

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Oprah Winfrey accepts the 2018 Cecil B. DeMille Award during the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday. Winfrey’s speech spurred talk of a possible presidential run.

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Oprah Winfrey accepts the 2018 Cecil B. DeMille Award during the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday. Winfrey’s speech spurred talk of a possible presidential run.

NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Americans love Oprah Winfrey — they just don’t necessarily want her to run for president.

In a head-to-head matchup with President Trump, Winfrey would win 50 to 39 percent, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Oprah Winfrey would beat President Trump, 50 to 39 percent, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Domenico Montanaro/NPR


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But when asked if they want Winfrey to run for president, a majority (54 percent) said they don’t want her to do so, with 35 percent saying they do want her to run.

The ubiquitous former talk-show host, media mogul and actress spurred talk of a potential White House bid with a stirring speech at the Golden Globes on Sunday. The hashtag #Oprah2020 immediately began trending. Democratic strategists in Washington were impressed with her message, and even former Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer tweeted that an Oprah 2020 run — and win — wasn’t so crazy.


Clearly Winfrey has some big advantages — she has high name recognition, lots of money and is well liked. In fact, the NPR poll found almost two-thirds (64 percent) had a favorable view of Winfrey, while less than a quarter (23 percent) had an unfavorable one.

Even though people say they would vote for Winfrey over Trump, they aren’t clamoring for her to run. In fact, a majority of Americans say she shouldn’t.

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“People clearly like her, but do they want her to get mixed up in this rough and tumble world of politics, which has certainly gotten worse by the minute?” asked Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion. “That’s not her style.”

And as well as she’s polling now, any time anyone gets involved in politics, they become a partisan target. Winfrey’s favorability would likely suffer soon after she were to enter the political arena — and she’s untested taking political heat.

Inside the numbers

Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey are picutred ringside at Tyson vs Spinks Convention Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., in June 1988.

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Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey are picutred ringside at Tyson vs Spinks Convention Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., in June 1988.

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In the head to head with Trump, 11 percent of respondents were undecided, the same margin as Winfrey’s lead over Trump. The respondents were predictably also split along party lines — 91 percent of Democrats were on Winfrey’s side, while 85 percent of Republicans said they would vote for Trump.

While impressions of Oprah Winfrey are strong overall, they vary based on politics. *W.E. Christ stands for White Evangelical Christians.

Domenico Montanaro/NPR


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Winfrey would win only 8 percent of Republicans, the same percentage Clinton won in 2016. (In addition, 7 percent of Trump supporters say they’d cross sides to back Winfrey.)

Winfrey does, however, win independents by 9 percentage points, 46 to 37 percent. In the 2016 presidential election, Trump won the group, 46 to 42, according to exit polls.

Views of Winfrey were likewise split along partisan lines — 89 percent of Democrats had a favorable view of her, while just 39 percent of Republicans did.

When it comes to whether she should run, not all Democrats were on board — 40 percent of Democrats said she shouldn’t, compared with 47 percent who do. That could spell a potentially tough primary against a more politically qualified opponent.

Patrice Bennet-Adler of Daly City, Calif., is one of those Democrats who likes Winfrey but isn’t eager for her to run for president. It’s the same reason she didn’t think Trump was qualified — neither has any past political experience.


Still, she would vote for Winfrey over Trump.

“Between the two, I’m more in alignment with her political and social views, so that’s why I would choose her over him,” said Bennet-Adler, 63. “She’s not just a businessperson — she also appears to have a social conscious that I’m aligned with.

“But that doesn’t mean that I think it would be a good idea for her to run for the highest public office in the country with no political experience.”

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