Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is among the ten candidates who will be onstage for Wednesday’s Democratic debate, with her appearance capping a month of middle-of-the-pack polling and a public spat with Hillary Clinton.
The vast majority of national polls regarding the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have consistently placed Gabbard just below the trio of front-runners: former Vice President Joe Biden, Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. However, Gabbard has maintained a polling lead over candidates frequently at the bottom of the pack including Julián Castro, John Delaney and Tom Steyer. Gabbard’s campaign recently gained traction after Clinton, who she memorably parted ways with during the 2016 primary, baselessly accused the congresswoman of being a “Russian asset.”
Gabbard’s national and state-by-state polling routinely shows her with single digits of support, but those numbers frequently place her right in the middle of the more than a dozen candidates still in the race.
A YouGov/Hofstra University poll released over the weekend proved to be one of Gabbard’s strongest showings of the campaign so far, placing her fourth behind Biden, Warren, and Sanders in a survey which asked, “If your local Democratic Party primary or caucus were TODAY, which candidate would you support?”
The Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa poll released this week found Gabbard still within a middle cluster of candidates that also includes Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California.
Many national and state primary polls show Gabbard doesn’t have wide name recognition, but she has continually hit the minimum thresholds for small donors. Her supporter list includes Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, her only billionaire backer.
A Quinnipiac poll released Monday found that about two-thirds of those surveyed, 64 percent, said they “haven’t heard enough” about Gabbard to form a positive or negative opinion of her campaign. That number is double-digits higher than almost every other candidate in the Democratic field, with hopefuls such as Sanders having only about 9 percent of respondents say they know little about his stances.
Last month, Gabbard received national attention after Clinton referred to her and former Green Party candidate Jill Stein as “Russian assets” looking to divide the Democratic Party. Gabbard released several videos accusing Clinton of trying to take down her campaign as payback for her endorsement of Sanders during the 2016 primary election.
Despite Clinton’s failure to corroborate her accusation against Gabbard, a recent analysis from the Foreign Policy Research Institute found that Russian government-owned media outlets do favor Gabbard, with the Hawaii congresswoman receiving very favorable coverage from the propaganda outlets.
Gabbard, 38, has stood out in the field of Democratic candidates by having a strict anti-interventionist foreign policy, which stems from her service in the U.S. military. She was also the first Hindu woman elected to the House of Representatives. Gabbard has routinely said she appears on Fox News and other conservative outlets as a means of speaking to “all Americans” and not just ones who agree with her on the left.