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Five topics to watch for in the first Democratic debates

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White House hopefuls will try to convince voters they have the vision and expertise to take on Donald Trump – and to knock rivals down a peg – when they take the stage for two nights of prime-time debate this week.

Democratic voters are itching to hear how candidates would tackle issues such as expanding health insurance coverage, raising the minimum wage and protecting Social Security, according to a recent Morning Consult poll.

1

Health Care

Thanks to Bernie Sanders’ 2016 run for president, “Medicare for All” has cemented itself firmly in the Democratic lexicon. Now, the 2020 candidates have embraced policies aimed at addressing the cost of health care that range from Sanders’ single-payer plan to improving the Affordable Care Act. Look for health care to be one of the most prominent issues over  which candidates clash during the debates.

Supporters of California Sen. Eric Swalwell were most likely to say health care was their top issue, while supporters of author Marianne Williamson were least likely to rank it the issue they cared most about.

Percentage of each candidate’s supporters who saidhealth carewas their top issue

2

Economy

The booming economy is one of the greatest boons to President Donald Trump’s reelection chances. But 2020 Democrats — and primary voters — are looking to stake their claim on a more equitable economy. They’ve unveiled proposals for boosting the minimum wage, raising taxes on the wealthy and confronting the changing job landscape in America.

This issue ranked particularly high among supporters of lower-polling candidates such as Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Swalwell and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

Percentage of each candidate’s supporters who saidthe economywas their top issue

3

Medicare / Social Security

Protecting entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security still ranks far and away as the most important issue for the party’s oldest voters.

This issue tops the list for supporters of former Vice President Joe Biden, the front-runner and a strong performer with older voters.

Percentage of each candidate’s supporters who saidMedicare / social securitywas their top issue

4

Reproductive Rights / Equal Pay

Focus on these issues has intensified as a spate of restrictive abortion bills have passed state legislatures. The primary field has debated public funding for abortion and whether the next president should make support for Roe v. Wade a litmus test for Supreme Court picks. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has made reproductive issues a centerpiece of her campaign.

Supporters of Williamson and Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren also care deeply about this issue.

Percentage of each candidate’s supporters who saidreproductive rights / equal paywas their top issue

5

Security

Trump’s handling of foreign policy issues has prompted cries among Democrats for stability, as opposed to what they derisively label Trump’s “foreign policy by tweet.” Democrats by and large want to draw down the number of troops in the Middle East, and they denounce Trump’s efforts to build relationships with authoritarian leaders. They’ve also rejected the Trump administration’s characterization of illegal immigration as a security issue, arguing instead for addressing the root causes of mass migration to the U.S. and addressing the humanitarian needs prompted by recent surges in migrants at the southern border.

Former Rep. John Delaney’s supporters were most likely to identify this as their top issue in 2020.

Percentage of each candidate’s supporters who saidsecuritywas their top issue

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