Former entrepreneur and businessman Andrew Yang is making waves in the 2020 Democratic primary with his unique policy ideas and energetic grassroots campaigning style, raising $10 million last fundraising quarter and qualifying for all of the past Democratic debates.
While he might seem like an unconventional pick, one statistic from Insider polling illustrates that if Yang doesn't end up winning the nomination, whoever does should seriously consider tapping him as their running mate.
According to recent Insider polling, Yang has the highest net support out of all the 2020 Democratic candidates among undecided general election voters who are considering voting for either party's nominee.
Out of the 268 undecided voters who knew of Yang, 46% would be satisfied with him as the nominee and 24% would not be satisfied, giving him positive net support of 21 percentage points, due to rounding error, among general election voters.
To help make sense of where all the 2020 candidates stand, Insider has been conducting a recurring SurveyMonkey Audience national poll. You can download every poll here, down to the individual respondent data. (Read more about how the Insider 2020 Democratic primary tracker works).
Former Vice President Joe Biden, Yang, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana were notably the only Democrats with net positive support among undecided general election voters in the past three Insider polls, which ran from Sept. 25-26, Oct. 3-4, and Oct. 16-17.
But Yang far outpaced Biden, who had net support of +7 percentage points among the three polls, and Buttigieg, whose net support was +2 percentage points, falling within the poll's margin of error. While fewer people recognized Yang than Biden or Buttigieg, a far greater proportion of them expressed support for him.
Yang is possibly the most unique major Democratic candidate in recent history, and his eccentric political brand could provide crossover appeal to any ticket.
Yang's message appeals to all types of voters, many of whom are part of his die-hard online base of supporters
While Yang is running as a Democrat, his never having held elected office or being formally attached to a political party has given him remarkable latitude to carve out his own distinct political brand.
His signature policy proposal, the Freedom Dividend, would give $1,000 a month to every American adult in order to help the American economy adapt to the rise of automation and the decline of manufacturing, trucking, and brick-and-mortar retail jobs.
Yang's extensive policy platform proposes big expansions in the size and scope of the welfare state, including a "Medicare for All" health-insurance system, and he doesn't speak like a typical Democrat — or even like a politician.
He frames his policy positions not in the language of politics but by building an economic system based on "humane capitalism" — and welcoming everyone from Democrats to disaffected nonvoters and Trump voters into this campaign with open arms.
One of his many unofficial campaign slogans is "not right, not left, but forward," indicating how his supporters see his movement as transcending politics itself.
Conservative columnist Karol Markowicz, for example, recently wrote for Business Insider that while she's skeptical of the Freedom Dividend, Yang is the most appealing Democratic candidate to her because "in an especially divided time, he doesn't lob the insults that many of his fellow candidates do nor talk down to voters who aren't part of the Democratic-primary constituency."
In February and March, Yang helped get his message out by making appearances on Fox News and conservative-leaning podcasts not regularly frequented by Democrats, including the Ben Shapiro Show and the Joe Rogan Experience — exposing him to a new audience.
While the eventual Democratic nominee won't necessarily need to win over every single Republican or Trump voter, it certainly won't hurt to have a running mate who is skilled in appealing to Republican, conservative, and independent voters.
Yangs's message of tackling automation could ring especially powerful in swing states like Michigan and Wisconsin that have been on the front lines of the dearth of manufacturing in America.
While Biden also has crossover appeal, as Insider polling shows, he too could benefit from a running mate like Yang who could win over younger and more liberal voters — two demographics Biden hasn't performed as well in compared to more progressive candidates like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Yang's grassroots success is powered by a die-hard and extremely online base of supporters known as the Yang Gang, who helped put Yang on the map and keep his campaign running with small grassroots donations and, of course, lots of memes.
A highly loyal and organized base of digital supporters is an extremely valuable asset in modern politics that few politicians can claim to have — and one that Yang would bring with him to a presidential ticket.
SurveyMonkey Audience polls from a national sample balanced by census data of age and gender. Respondents are incentivized to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital polling tends to skew toward people with access to the internet. SurveyMonkey Audience doesn't try to weight its sample based on race or income. Total 1,096 respondents collected September 25-26, 2019, a margin of error plus or minus 3.04 percentage points with a 95% confidence level. Total 1,083 respondents collected October 4-5, 2019, a margin of error plus or minus 3.06 percentage points with a 95% confidence level. Total 1,095 respondents collected October 16-17, 2019, a margin of error plus or minus 3.04 percentage points with a 95% confidence level.