If you just read the polling headlines, you would think that
Joe Biden is effectively out of the presidential race. However, for those who
read beyond the top line to look at the nuts and bolts of the polling and
follow polling trends, the picture is much different. In today’s polling update,
there is both good news and bad for Team Biden.
First, the bad news. As we reported last week, Biden is slumping in Iowa. In the current Real Clear Politics average of polls, Biden is in a statistical tie for third with Bernie Sanders. The pair trails Elizabeth Warren by seven points and the second-place Pete Buttigieg by two. The rankings are far from set in stone with both Warren and Biden trending down.
As a result of the vice president’s disappointing performance
with Hawkeye State Democrats, the Biden campaign is working to lower expectations
for the first-in-the-nation caucuses. Biden campaign manager Greg Schultz recently
told the Wall
Street Journal, “I think we’re the only ones who don’t have to win Iowa,
honestly, because our strength is the fact that we have a broad and diverse
Schultz went on to point out that, if the current polling
trend holds, the results would be a muddled finish with no clear winner as the
four candidates all earn delegates.
“Does anybody win? Technically, yes, maybe,” Schultz added. “But
does that give you clarity on where the heart of the Democratic Party is? I
would say, ‘no,’”
Schultz’s claim is backed up by national polling where Biden
remains the clear frontrunner. Real
Clear Politics currently shows Biden with an average lead of nine points as
Elizabeth Warren, who had previously tied Biden for first in the national
average, fades like the colors of a cheap shirt. Nationally, Sanders runs third
with an average of 16 percent and Buttigieg is still stuck in single-digits. No
one else comes close.
There is also good news for Biden in two new polls from Nevada,
where the last polling was done in September and showed a near three-way tie between
Biden, Sanders, and Warren. The new polls, from the Nevada
Independent and Emerson,
show Biden jumping ahead in the state, which will be the third state to vote
next year. Both polls give Biden an 8-10-point lead with about 30 percent support.
Warren and Sanders are running a close race for second at approximately 20
For all of the predictions of doom for Joe Biden, he is hanging
in there. Despite his age, his gaffes, and his connection to the ongoing
Ukraine scandal, Biden is polling today at 29 percent in the national average,
exactly the same level from a year ago and prior to his presidential
announcement on April 25. He lost much of the bump from his announcement with a
poor first debate performance, but his support has been remarkably steady since
then. With Warren in decline, it seems that Biden’s most dangerous competitor
for the nomination may have missed her chance.