Ranking the 2020 Democratic presidential field

CNN's Chris Cillizza breaks down the latest movement in CNN's rankings of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, with Bernie Sanders making a come back.

Posted: Dec 19, 2019 11:00 PM
Updated: Dec 19, 2019 11:00 PM

It's been a long wait, but 2020 is almost here! And with it, the arrival of actual votes by actual caucus-goers and primary voters!

The field of viable candidates has narrowed considerably over the past few months, with only seven people making it onto the stage for Thursday's sixth presidential debate. While several candidates who missed the debate qualifications -- New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker being the most obvious -- insist they are staying in the race for the long haul, that gets harder and harder as the money dries up.

Below, our rankings of the 10 candidates most likely to wind up as the party's nominee. Don't see your preferred candidate on the list? Or don't like where we have them ranked? Never fear: The Iowa caucuses aren't until February 3!

10. Julián Castro: The former San Antonio mayor stays on our list because he's clearly the most talented of the candidates lingering in the lower tiers. But everything Castro has tried to change his trajectory in the race hasn't worked. In the wake of Sen. Kamala Harris' departure from the contest, Castro sought to make hay by noting that the top tier of the field was now all white, but his numbers haven't moved an inch. (Previous ranking: 10)

9. Tom Steyer: He's going to be on the debate stage for the foreseeable future, thanks to spending a ton of dough and securing a lot of donors. But let's be real, folks: tens of millions of dollars spent and Steyer isn't moving up in the polls. He's also been supplanted in the self-funding lane by Bloomberg. (Previous ranking: 9)

8. Cory Booker: Booker has pledged to remain in the race despite missing the debate stage this month for the first time. Maybe! But given the size of his staff and the expectations he entered the race with, it may be hard to sustain a campaign at the level he would like all the way through Iowa. (Previous ranking: 8)

7. Andrew Yang: Yang barely qualified for Thursday's debate, but barely making is better than barely missing. Given that he started this race at 0%, Yang's arguably had one of the most successful campaigns to date. And while he's unlikely to become the Democratic nominee, he's outlasted a lot of sitting members of Congress and governors. (Previous ranking: 7)

6. Michael Bloomberg: The former New York City mayor's massive personal spending ($100 million+ on TV ads alone) is having an impact. The last four national polls have shown Bloomberg at 5%, 5%, 5% and 7%. Which isn't 30%! But it's pretty rapid growth that has to encourage Bloomberg's team. The question that still lingers around Bloomberg is whether someone who skips the first four voting states -- basically all of February -- can make a real run at the nomination. (Previous ranking: 6)

5. Amy Klobuchar: One of the big questions heading into Thursday's debate is whether Minnesota's senior senator tries to take a bite out of Pete Buttigieg. Both are performing significantly better in Iowa than nationally. Further, Klobuchar's strong performance stood out in the last debate, and voters may be yearning for another non-male candidate to join the top ranks. (Previous ranking: 5)

4. Elizabeth Warren: As good as the summer was to the Massachusetts senator, the fall has been that bad. Warren has watched as she has dropped to the bottom of the top tier in the race. Why? No one reason, although her open embrace of "Medicare for All" coupled with back-to-back middling showings in the two most recent debates likely played a major role. Writing off Warren would be a major mistake, however, given the strength of her organization in Iowa and the fact that she remains a gifted explainer of the liberal policies she espouses. (Previous ranking: 3)

3. Pete Buttigieg: The South Bend, Indiana, mayor is clearly a player in Iowa and New Hampshire. He's moved down a smidge in our list because he's shown no ability to appeal to nonwhite voters, who make up roughly 40% of the Democratic primary electorate nationally. Buttigieg has stalled just south of 10% in national polls, and he's also getting attacked a lot more. (Previous ranking: 2)

2. Bernie Sanders: Don't call it a comeback! Actually, do. Because the Vermont senator, who was sidelined earlier this fall by a heart attack, has emerged from that health scare with a new momentum -- especially among liberals. Sanders' poll numbers are up both nationally and in early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire. Plus: Sanders ended September with more than $30 million left to spend on the race, meaning he is going to be in this race for a long time. (Previous ranking: 4)

1. Joe Biden: The former vice president is as steady as they come. Biden consistently polls between 25% and 30% in primary polls. This has occurred even as he has had unsteady debate performances. Now, 25% hardly makes a dominating front-runner, but it does make a front-runner. To knock him off his perch, Biden's competitors will have to beat him in Iowa. Even if they do, though, they'll still have to figure out how to beat a guy lapping the field among the often pivotal black voter base of the party. (Previous ranking: 1)

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312926

Reported Deaths: 7226
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21474257
Hinds20271414
Harrison17796309
Rankin13561278
Jackson13404246
Madison10062217
Lee9961173
Jones8364163
Forrest7644152
Lauderdale7178240
Lowndes6366144
Lamar621286
Lafayette6168118
Washington5322133
Bolivar4796132
Oktibbeha461198
Panola4556105
Pearl River4494145
Marshall4396103
Warren4376121
Pontotoc419372
Monroe4094133
Union408876
Neshoba4024176
Lincoln3947110
Hancock377086
Leflore3487125
Sunflower335790
Tate332384
Pike3294105
Scott315273
Alcorn311568
Yazoo310669
Itawamba299377
Copiah296065
Simpson294488
Coahoma294279
Tippah287668
Prentiss279360
Marion268780
Adams266082
Leake265573
Wayne262341
Grenada260186
Covington256381
George246748
Newton245961
Winston226881
Tishomingo225567
Jasper220848
Attala214173
Chickasaw207157
Holmes188673
Clay184754
Stone181833
Tallahatchie178140
Clarke177879
Calhoun169832
Yalobusha163336
Smith162234
Walthall133845
Greene130333
Lawrence128323
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry125838
Amite122842
Carroll121728
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis106932
Tunica104726
Claiborne102230
Benton99025
Humphreys96133
Kemper95328
Franklin83423
Quitman80016
Choctaw76018
Wilkinson66930
Jefferson65428
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 530011

Reported Deaths: 10946
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson763591519
Mobile40875804
Madison34676503
Tuscaloosa25717451
Montgomery24308585
Shelby23389248
Baldwin21093307
Lee15844169
Calhoun14481313
Morgan14281279
Etowah13813353
Marshall12203222
Houston10553280
Elmore10036205
Limestone9952150
Cullman9647193
St. Clair9634239
Lauderdale9413241
DeKalb8821185
Talladega8210175
Walker7222277
Autauga6914108
Jackson6803111
Blount6645136
Colbert6291134
Coffee5503118
Dale4826111
Russell440038
Chilton4263111
Franklin425482
Covington4120117
Tallapoosa4006152
Escambia393276
Chambers3559123
Dallas3544151
Clarke350861
Marion3111100
Pike310177
Lawrence299898
Winston273772
Bibb260463
Marengo249164
Geneva248777
Pickens233760
Barbour230757
Hale222577
Butler215869
Fayette212062
Henry188744
Cherokee184345
Randolph179941
Monroe177040
Washington167039
Macon158650
Clay155956
Crenshaw151957
Cleburne148741
Lamar141834
Lowndes138553
Wilcox127029
Bullock123041
Conecuh110129
Perry107526
Coosa107128
Sumter104332
Greene92334
Choctaw60424
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Columbus
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High pressure will briefly dominate our weather forecast for Friday and Saturday. However, more low pressure moves into our area for the end of the weekend. This will bring back into our area some more chances for some rain and thunderstorms.
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