Why Marianne Williamson’s unconventional presidential bid didn’t catch on

Maybe one reason why Williamson didn’t fare better in the polls is that the more voters got to know her, the less they liked her. According to an average of polls conducted in May, Democrats were not very familiar with Williamson; 13 percent of them had a favorable impression of her, 10 percent had an unfavorable one and the remainder didn’t have an opinion. And even though Williamson’s favorable rating increased by 9 points after the first two debates (according to an average of polls conducted Aug. 1-25), her unfavorable rating increased more — by 16 points. This made her one of the few Democratic candidates who was more unpopular than popular among members of her own party — generally speaking, not a good place to be.

Williamson may have hoped that her New Age rhetoric (“I’m going to harness love for political purposes”) would help her appeal to the spiritual side of the Democratic Party, but it looks like it just turned voters off. As my colleague Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux wrote in September, although “spiritual but not religious” people make up around one-third of the Democratic Party, they are not a cohesive group, do not vote as a monolith and tend to prioritize shared values and policy positions over a shared spiritual identity.

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