Pollsters and analysts are getting a little excited (in ways both good and bad) over recent polling in New Hampshire which showed Joe Biden doubling his support over Bernie Sanders. To add to the frenzy, a new poll out of South Carolina shows Biden also extending his lead among Democratic primary voters which has some asking whether the race is his to lose.
Bloomberg reports on the latest from South Carolina where Biden now holds the top spot at 46 percent with Bernie coming in second-place at just 15 percent:
Just weeks after announcing his presidential run, former Vice President Joe Biden led the Democratic pack in the key South Carolina race, attracting support from 46% of likely party primary voters in a state poll released Sunday.
Biden had more than triple the support of his nearest rival, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who attracted 15% of those surveyed, according to Charleston’s Post and Courier newspaper, which conducted the poll with Change Research.
Almost 90% of respondents said Biden has the best shot to unseat President Donald Trump, the newspaper reported, highlighting an emphasis on beating Trump that has vaulted Biden to the front of his party’s field of more than 20 presidential candidates. Trump has particularly attacked Biden on Twitter and in his public comments.
South Carolina is a state that Biden will be gunning for during the primary. The demographic makeup should suit him, and he polls well with African-American voters there, a group which Bernie has struggled with. Biden’s nearing 50 percent support which is the target for candidates hoping to lock up a state and signal to rivals that they have started to gain near-majority support among voters.
The Post and Courier, and local South Carolina paper out of Columbus, says voters think Biden is the “safe” choice:
Nearly nine out of 10 of those polled believe Biden has the best chance to topple Trump. Sanders was the only other candidate to win support from a majority of those polled. Harris and Warren were each considered potential Trump-beaters by about one-third of voters.
“Voters figure, ‘We know a white man can win the presidency,’ ” Vinson said. “Biden seems to be the safe choice.”
That belief apparently hurts candidates such as Harris and Warren, who are trying to become the first female president and have impressed voters who have come out to their events.
Biden remains the smartest, toughest and most likable candidate with the highest name recognition and largest favorability, according to the poll.
Biden being the “safe” choice means that voters think someone like Kamala Harris, a candidate with the potential to be the first female African-American major party nominee, is a “risky” choice? That doesn’t bode well for Harris who is basing a lot of her strategy on making a play for South Carolina.
Then again, the makeup of Super Tuesday has changed drastically, so perhaps the focus on South Carolina is too disproportionally high this year as opposed to prior years. With California having set their primary date for March 3, 2020, just days after South Carolina on Feb. 29, it’s unlikely that the Palmetto State would be the end of the road for any campaign that had decided to at least stay in until Super Tuesday in early March.
Biden-Harris: The dream ticket?
Another story out this weekend said that some black lawmakers are floating the idea of a Biden-Harris ticket:
The Congressional Black Caucus may have found an answer to its Joe Biden dilemma: Vice President Kamala Harris.
Some black lawmakers are agonizing over whether to back Biden or two members of the close-knit caucus — Sens. Harris and Cory Booker — who are also vying for the White House, according to interviews with a dozen CBC members.
But with the former vice president jumping out to a huge, if early, lead in the polls, several CBC members are warming to the idea of a Biden-Harris ticket to take on President Donald Trump.
“That would be a dream ticket for me, a dream ticket!” said Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.). “If she is not the nominee, that would be a dream ticket for this country.”
Harris is everything the 76-year-old Biden is not. The freshman senator from California is younger, a woman and a person of color. As Biden gets dinged for his bipartisan bromides, Harris is winning applause from progressives for her merciless cross-examination of Trump officials.
Should Biden end up the nominee, his Vice President would absolutely have to fit the right bill for progressives in the party who remain wary about his decades of political baggage. There were reports in March about Biden teaming up with Georgia gubernatorial hopeful Stacey Abrams, though that storyline remains unfinished. However, it does serve to indicate that Biden is well-aware of his weaknesses in this regard, and perhaps would be open to the possibility of taking Sen. Kamala Harris as a vice presidential pick.
It’s still very early, of course, but the Biden campaign has got to be thrilled at seeing Bernie’s support erode in some of these important primary states. Furthermore, Biden continues to gain on the upside and until something big shakes up the race, the trend will likely continue.