KEY POINTS

  • A new USA Today/Suffolk poll confirms voters want Biden to pick a woman of color as his running mate
  • It shows Sen. Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams and Susan Rice in the lead 
  • Among the top five is Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is white
     

The smart money’s now on Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., as Joe Biden's vice-presidential pick. She is one of the six women — five of them women of color — said to be on Biden's list. Biden has said he'll announce his decision around Aug. 1.

The only white woman on this list is the feisty and smart Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who was unforgettable in the primaries for shredding former New York City mayor and billionaire Mike Bloomberg.

Warren repeating her heroics as Biden's running mate seems a long shot given the pressure Biden faces to anoint a woman of color as his pick. A new poll of Democrats also confirms the widespread perception the party does want a woman of color, specifically a Black American, as Biden's veep.

This leaves the field to African-Americans Susan Rice, former national security adviser under President Barack Obama; Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta; and Stacey Abrams, who ran as governor of Georgia in the 2018 midterms. And Harris, who is of Indian-Jamaican descent.

A new USA Today/Suffolk poll shows 72% of respondents saying it's important to them that Biden picks a woman of color as his running mate. A third of Democrats, among both Black and white Americans, say this is "very important."

The poll reveals nominating a woman of color was more important to white Americans than Black Americans. Seventy-five percent of white Americans said it was very or somewhat important to them compared to 60% of Black Americans who took that view. Eighty-one percent of Hispanics said so, too.

Among the poll's more interesting results:

  • Harris generated the most excitement among respondents: 41% of whites and 32% of African Americans said they'd be "excited" by her choice. Another 33% called her "acceptable" while 12% said she won't be acceptable.
  • Abrams was rated as an "exciting" choice by 20% of white and 27% of Black respondents. Among all Democrats, 29% said she was "acceptable." Ten percent said she wasn't acceptable.

US Senator Kamala Harris launched her presidential bid to great fanfare in January 2019, but her campaign faltered over the next several months and she became one of the most high-profile Democratic candidates to drop out of the race US Senator Kamala Harris launched her presidential bid to great fanfare in January 2019, but her campaign faltered over the next several months and she became one of the most high-profile Democratic candidates to drop out of the race Photo: AFP / SAUL LOEB

  • Warren is seen as "exciting" by 33% of white and 15% of Black respondents. Thirty-eight percent said she's "acceptable." On the other hand, 19% regard her as "not acceptable," the highest negative rating for any of the 11 women in the poll. (The other five were Florida Rep. Val Demings, Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and California Rep. Karen Bass. But a majority of respondents didn't have an opinion of these women because they didn't know them enough.)
  • Rice is seen as "exciting" by 20% of white and 24% of Black Americans. Among all Democrats, 35% said she's "acceptable." Ten percent said she's not acceptable.
  • Bottoms is seen as an "exciting" choice by 16% of white and 25% of Black respondents. Overall, 28% called her "acceptable" and 7% "not acceptable."

The poll's respondents consisted of 345 Democrats and 287 Republicans. The margin of error for the Democratic sample is plus or minus 5.3 percentage points; for the Republican sample, it's 5.8 points.