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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: 144544

Reported Deaths: 3729
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto956999
Hinds9541193
Harrison6825105
Jackson6068116
Rankin523796
Lee480294
Madison4602102
Forrest367185
Jones344687
Lauderdale3343142
Lafayette313347
Washington3088106
Lamar281849
Bolivar237883
Oktibbeha237760
Lowndes228362
Neshoba2171113
Panola211047
Marshall207247
Leflore200789
Pontotoc193227
Monroe189577
Sunflower189554
Lincoln183964
Warren172157
Tate163349
Union160125
Pike160058
Copiah158840
Yazoo150638
Scott149929
Coahoma147342
Itawamba145533
Alcorn143724
Simpson143553
Pearl River142967
Prentiss139526
Grenada136344
Adams135948
Leake131643
Holmes124461
George121623
Tippah120930
Covington117234
Winston115824
Wayne115722
Hancock114137
Marion110746
Attala106233
Tishomingo106042
Newton102829
Chickasaw102332
Tallahatchie94727
Clarke88253
Clay86726
Jasper81121
Walthall74328
Stone72314
Montgomery71925
Calhoun71213
Carroll70514
Lawrence69914
Noxubee69017
Smith68616
Yalobusha67926
Perry65225
Tunica59519
Greene58422
Claiborne57416
Jefferson Davis54117
Humphreys52518
Amite50814
Benton48217
Quitman4786
Webster41614
Kemper40815
Wilkinson38422
Jefferson34011
Franklin3185
Sharkey30617
Choctaw3057
Issaquena1114
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 234080

Reported Deaths: 3459
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson30620491
Mobile19306358
Tuscaloosa12501148
Madison12410146
Montgomery12040232
Shelby980576
Baldwin826984
Lee753964
Morgan618247
Calhoun5997113
Etowah590564
Marshall581953
Houston507038
DeKalb463535
Cullman412636
Limestone404544
St. Clair398455
Elmore393961
Lauderdale382953
Walker349096
Talladega335942
Colbert296341
Jackson291924
Blount276336
Autauga263439
Franklin244833
Coffee233415
Dale226654
Dallas220231
Russell21803
Chilton216937
Covington212533
Escambia194431
Tallapoosa169290
Chambers168048
Pike155514
Clarke155419
Marion134535
Winston123723
Lawrence122436
Geneva11748
Marengo116924
Barbour116110
Pickens115318
Bibb114217
Butler113741
Randolph99821
Cherokee98924
Hale91631
Washington90018
Clay89423
Fayette84416
Henry8426
Lowndes78729
Monroe76811
Cleburne74414
Crenshaw70330
Macon70020
Bullock69019
Conecuh66814
Perry6686
Lamar6267
Wilcox62418
Sumter55322
Choctaw41713
Greene40217
Coosa3074
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