It’s only a matter of time, right? Former Vice President Joe Biden would be naive to pass up the incentive of leading polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, and now South Carolina. In the latter, he’s almost pushing 40% with help from the African-American voting bloc within the Democratic primary. The latest reports say Biden is still waiting on the sidelines for the right time and still contemplating whether or not to launch his presidential run. Signs point to the campaign being all-but ready to go once he pulls the trigger.
Here’s a report on the South Carolina numbers from the Charleston-based Post and Courier:
Even though he’s not in the race, former Vice President Joe Biden leads a new poll of South Carolina voters looking at likely 2020 presidential candidates, followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and California Sen. Kamala Harris.
Biden received 36 percent of support in South Carolina — double that of Sanders (14 percent), who ran in 2016 and entered the race Monday, and Harris (13 percent), who recently made her first S.C. visit since announcing.
Booker and Warren, who have announced bids, along with O’Rourke, who has not joined the race, hovered around 10 percent. The Change Research poll’s margin of error for the 2020 Democratic race is plus or minus 4 percent.
Taking in 36% is nothing to sneeze at in such a crowded field. That’s over two-thirds of South Carolina Democrats ready to sign on with a Biden 2020 ticket. If Biden were to actually toss his name in the ring, that number might top 40% which would be a game-changer.
The same story is happening in New Hampshire, as The Hill reports:
Former Vice President Joe Biden is the top choice for Democratic voters in the early voting state of New Hampshire who were contacted for a poll released Wednesday.
Biden was the top choice for 28 percent of likely Democratic primary voters surveyed in the University of Massachusetts Amherst poll, despite him not having declared a 2020 presidential bid.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who announced his presidential run on Tuesday, followed with support from 20 percent of Democratic voters and Democratic-leaning independents. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) placed third with support from 14 percent of those likely to vote in the Democratic primary.
New Hampshire is an obvious advantage for Bernie Sanders, hailing from neighboring Vermont, but Biden still manages 28% as an undeclared candidate-in-waiting. If the field remains this divided, there’s no reason to believe he couldn’t parlay these numbers into a plurality of victory.
As we reported back in February, polls in Iowa also put Biden around 30% of support in the Hawkeye State.
We don’t have polling in Nevada yet, but it’s safe to say that Biden would probably be leading there as well. The question is whether he could hold these leads as the campaign unfolds. What if he stumbles to gain traction with progressive voters and fails to hold on to his numbers?
Then again, what if his numbers improve as the rest of the field looks weak and/or too progressive in comparison?
Now that we’ve seen the positive polls, here’s a report from CNN with a focus group of Democratic primary voters who proceed to toss cold water on Biden’s 2020 chances:
A handful of voters who say they backed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election say they are unexcited by the prospect of former Vice President Joe Biden entering the 2020 field.
“How many of you would like to see Joe Biden get in? Show of hands,” CNN’s Alisyn Camerota asked the panel of six Democrats, selected from Ohio, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, on “New Day” Tuesday morning.
No one raised their hands.
“His time is done,” said Carol Evans, one of the panelists.
“To be honest, Sen. Biden comes from kind of the good-old-boy politics of the past,” added another panelist, Russell Banks.
“I don’t think Joe Biden represents that new thing that we need,” a third panelist, Owen Evans, said. “We need a new economy, we need new politics and we need someone different.”
The benefit for Biden, at the moment, is that with a large field that’s split among several progressive options is that he could coast with 3o to 40 percent of the vote and still win the nomination. Even if the majority of the party would line up against him, he could win enough early states with a divided field to all-but make him unbeatable.
We should know his intention soon with every ongoing report saying he is on the cusp of making a campaign announcement sometime “soon.”