When asked about Winfrey running against Trump in 2020, 50 percent of registered voters said they would vote for her, compared to just 39 percent who said they would vote for President Trump and 11 percent who were undecided.
While 64 percent of those polled have a favorable opinion of Winfrey, 54 percent said they do not want her to run for office. Only 35 percent said they’d like her to run.
“Americans’ message to Oprah is, ‘We like you, we would vote for you over Trump, but we don’t want you to run,’” said Lee Miringoff, director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, in his analysis of the poll. “The biggest gap occurs among Democrats. 91% of Democrats would vote for Oprah, but only 47% want her to run for president.”
Celebrities, news organizations and political pundits took to social media speculating on a possible run following Winfrey’s passionate Golden Globes speech on Sunday. In it, she denounced powerful Hollywood men’s sexual abuse of women.
“But it’s not just a story affecting the entertainment industry,” Winfrey said. “It’s one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics, or workplace. So I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue.”
In an interview with The Guardian on Thursday, film director Steven Spielberg said he would support Winfrey if she decided to run.
“I think Oprah Winfrey would make an absolutely brilliant president,” Spielberg said. “If she declares, I will back her.”
Winfrey has also drawn reactions from celebrities who would rather not see her run.
“Oprah is beyond doubt a magnificent orator,” Seth MacFarlane, creator of TV shows “Family Guy” and “American Dad” tweeted. “But the idea of a reality show star running against a talk show host is troublingly dystopian. We don’t want to create a world where dedicated public service careers become undesirable and impractical in the face of raw celebrity.”
Talk has persisted for a few years about Winfrey’s possible run for the presidency, but she has put down the rumors in the past. In recent months, though, she has said she is rethinking it. The results of the hypothetical race are not a big surprise given the consistently low approval ratings of President Trump, which have averaged about 38 percent.
The poll ran from January 8-10 and surveyed 1,092 registered voters. The sampling error is plus or minus 3 percent.