Following Oprah’s passionate speech at the Golden Globes, there was much media hype over the prospect of Oprah running for America’s top job.
The TV star and Democrat is now being talked about as a serious contender for the 2020 election, but what have the polls being saying?
A new Quinnipiac University poll, released on the 17th January, asked voters who they would back in a two-horse race between Oprah Winfrey and Donald Trump. The poll suggests that Oprah would defeat the incumbent president 52% - 39%. This is good news for those who want Oprah to run, however, it is worth noting that at this stage she had no clear policy platform, something that would change if she put her name forward.
However, another poll – this time a Morning Consult/Politico poll conducted 11th – 16th January – found that very few Americans actually wanted her to run:
Just 24% of registered voters in the poll said the TV star should run for president. This figure is dwarfed by the 59% who say she should not run including 79% of Donald Trump voters and 45% of Hillary Clinton voters.
At this stage, its impossible to know why this is the case. The high proportion of Trump voters who don’t want her to run could suggest that many are scared that she could defeat the incumbent president. However, it could also be that others do not want her to taint her name as a widely respected figure by going into politics. Another possible reason is that the 2020 election could therefore shape up to be a battle between two exceptionally rich TV stars, and it could be that many Americans do not want to live in a democracy with that sort of outcome.
Unless Oprah dismisses speculation or puts her name forward, there is little we can do but speculate about what such a contest would look like.
In the meantime, Democrats must ask themselves this: could Oprah be their ticket to stopping Donald Trump or are there other options from their existing pool of lawmakers?