There’s no way to know, but I think Warren would have routed Sanders and Clinton—and would now stand poised to give Cruz or Trump more than they could handle. I ran my hypothesis by several respected political professionals and pollsters I respect to see if they agreed. Most did.
Republican polling analyst Karlyn Bowman noted that in 2015 surveys, Warren ran behind Hillary and Joe Biden, but with surprisingly high name identification. Bowman added that Warren would have been helped by the Democrats’ leftward drift during the Obama years—and that 2016 exit polls have showed that huge numbers of Democrats believe the system favors the rich. “That would have been her calling card,” Bowman told me. “So I think she could have been a contender.”
Linda DiVall, a GOP pollster, wasn’t so sure. She thinks a significant and influential bloc of Democratic women “were already solidly behind HRC, it was Clinton’s time—not Warren’s.”
But Republican pollster Ed Goeas notes that Clinton’s “negatives,” in pollster parlance, are ominously high and that the only reason this doesn’t worry Democrats more is that Donald Trump’s are so much higher.