Tuesday, July 09, 2019


For better or worse, reports of the death of Joe Biden's campaign seem to have been exaggerated. In a new Emerson poll, because of a shakeup just below the top spot, Biden actually has a larger lead than he had before the first round of Democratic debates:
Despite Biden losing 4 points of his support from 34% to 30%, he extended his lead in the Democratic primary from 7 points in June to 15 points, as his main rival, Sanders dropped 12 points to 15% from his June number of 27%. Harris saw her numbers improve 8 points to 15%, and Warren ticked up one point from June to 15% of the vote, creating a three way tie for second. The data was collected July 6-8 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.4%.
Biden is still at 30%, with no else above 15%. And his support is more locked in than that of his rivals, Bernie Sanders excepted:
Sanders and Biden continue to have the most loyal supporters as 55% of Sanders supporters will definitely vote for him and 51% of Biden supporters will definitely for him. Comparatively, 37% of Harris and 26% of Warren supporters have made a definitive choice of which candidate to support.
He's even leading among the young now, if by a slight margin:
Biden leads among all age groups. This is a departure from previous Emerson polls, where Sanders has consistently lead among the youngest group of voters. Among 18-29 year olds, 26% support Biden, 24% support Sanders, and 10% support Warren. Among 30-49 year olds Biden leads with 23%, followed by Sanders with 19%, and Harris and Warren with 16%. With voters 50-64 year olds, Biden leads with 36%, followed by Harris with 22%, Warren with 15%, and Sanders with 8%. With those over the age of 65, Biden received 38%, followed by Warren with 19%, Harris with 14%, and Sanders with 8%.
Meanwhile, Morning Consult has Biden leading Sanders 31%-19%, with Harris at 14% and Warren at 13%. Among early primary state voters, Biden leads Sanders 31%-20%, with Harris at 14% and Warren at 10%.

I don't know if this will change as more people watch Biden in action. (In the Emerson poll, Biden is favored by 39% of Democrats who didn't watch the debates, as opposed to 25% of those who did.) It might not. I think we're seeing a less toxic version of Trumpism at work: Every criticism of Biden plays into the perception that he's being held to a "politically correct" standard, something even moderates seem to resent. Unlike Trump voters, Democratic moderates are generally good-hearted and decent, but I think they regard troubling habits such as Biden's handsiness as contained and benign, and they want to believe that he's tried to be on the side of good on issues such as race. I think many of them feel that they themselves struggle to say and do the decent thing, and they don't hold Biden's stumbles against him.

We need these voters to win, and I don't think it's at all certain that they'll give up on Biden. Don't assume that he's doomed.

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