For a candidate who swooped in the campaign raising funds at a pace which far exceeded his opponents, former representative Beto O’Rourke, of Texas, has fallen hard and fallen fast. There are two new primary polls out of New Hampshire, one of which shows O’Rourke coming in at zero percent support, while the other pegs him at just two percent.
First, the better news for Beto from a CNN poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire:
Overall, 24% say they back Biden, while 19% each support Sanders and Warren. The five-point margin between Biden and the two senators matches the survey’s margin of sampling error.
Behind this top tier, 10% support South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and 9% back California Sen. Kamala Harris. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke each registered 2% in the poll.
No other candidate tested earned more than 1% support.
CNN puts the “top tier” label on Biden, Warren, and Sanders in New Hampshire since no other candidate breaks double-digits. Perhaps the biggest news here, aside from Beto’s awful performance, is that Sanders is locked in a tie for second place after he won New Hampshire over Hillary Clinton by 22 points in 2016. Bernie needs New Hampshire to remain viable and without it, he will lose momentum early on.
However, back to Beto, and his measly two percent in this poll. The numbers get worse from another poll out of New Hampshire on Monday which slashes Beto’s support to zero percent among Democratic primary voters in the Granite State:
Harris, apparently still resonating with voters following her debate performance more than two weeks ago, is backed by 17.5 percent of likely Democratic first-in-the-nation primary voters. That support puts her just more than 3 percentage points behind former Vice President Joe Biden, who received 20.8 percent.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren is a close third, at 16.7 percent, less than a percentage point behind Harris. Sanders registered 9.9 percent, behind Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is fourth in the poll with 11.5 percent.
Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, after registering at 6.4 percent in a Saint Anselm College poll in April, received zero percent support in the new poll.
The Saint Anselm College Survey Center said it polled 351 registered voters expressing an intention to vote in the 2020 New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary between July 10 and 12. The survey center said the poll was conducted via landline and cellular telephone calls.
The poll’s margin of error is 5.2 percent, which means that the top three candidates — Biden, Harris and Warren – are in a statistical tie.
The St. Anselm poll finds the numbers tighter at the top than the CNN poll, though Biden still leads but by a smaller margin. Kamala Harris receives significantly more support in this one compared to the first poll where she can’t crack double-digits.
However, the biggest standout here is the total collapse of Beto in New Hampshire. His numbers in Iowa are looking similar, but slightly less ghoulish, and it appears that unless something drastic changes in the near future, Beto will not be in this race much longer.
When compared to other lower-tier candidates polling in the low single digits, Beto is an outlier. This is a candidate who began raising money at a pace faster than Bernie Sanders and topped over $6 million on his first day in the race back in March. What happened?
The bottom line here is that literally every candidate included in the poll is beating Beto:
In the new poll, the rest of the field showed entrepreneur Andrew Yang leading several elected officials, with 4.9 percent.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar registered 2.7 percent; author Marianne Williamson, 1.5 percent; Sen. Cory Booker, 1.2 percent; U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, 1 percent; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, 0.7 percent and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee at 0.3 percent.
Even Jay Inslee, governor of a state on the complete opposite side of the country, manages to scratch 0.3 percent. Granted, the margin of error is 5.2%, but it’s still quite hard to come in at zero percent.
Another Beto Senate run in the works?
Some publications from Beto’s home state of Texas have begun to question why he would bother continuing with a presidential campaign when he has better opportunities back home:
Many of the Beto O’Rourke faithful in Texas, people who supported him during his 2018 Senate race, have now reached the same conclusion: Beto should drop out of the presidential race. In a Quinnipiac poll from early June, 60 percent of Texas Democrats said they preferred that O’Rourke suspend his presidential campaign and run against Senator John Cornyn instead. Just 27 percent said they’d rather he continue his presidential bid. Since then, his national poll numbers have dropped significantly—one recent poll of New Hampshire voters found that O’Rourke had 0.0 percent support in the state. (New Age star Marianne Williamson came in at 1.2 percent.) His second-quarter fundraising amounted to a disappointing $3.6 million, placing him between Amy Klobuchar and Jay Inslee. Over the weekend, the Washington Post collected a number of brutal quotes from former supporters who want O’Rourke to come home: “It was an extremely arrogant act, running for president after the career that he’s had,” said Ryan Rosshirt, the vice president of the Austin Young Democrats.
The Texas Monthly piece cites Beto’s lackluster campaigning in the state of Iowa shortly after launching his campaign. His style, which worked better in a highly nationalized Senate race, where Beto was the only option for Democrats, worked better than it did in small, close-quarter campaign events in Iowa diners.
However, even if the Cornyn Senate seat is an option for Beto, would he stand a chance coming off a losing presidential bid? At some point, if his presidential chances continue to wane, he’ll be considering that it’s better to pull the plug sooner rather than later, let the dust settle, then focus on a race in Texas where he has much more experience and a better connection with voters.
Beto has easily qualified for the next Democratic debate happening on July 30 and 31. Whatever night he falls in will become his last major stand as a candidate so if he’s going to plow forward, I’d expect him to try and make it count. Originally it was thought that Sen. Elizabeth Warren drew the short straw by getting night 1 of the first debate basically to herself. Beto O’Rourke was also on stage with her, but it looks like he’s the one who fared much worse getting lost in the post-debate shuffle while Joe Biden and Kamala Harris basically owned the narrative coming out debate week in late June.
Beto will need a big splash and a big moment to turn his campaign around at the upcoming CNN debate. Can he pull it off? We will soon find out.