Our Monthly Update — Joe Biden Still Leads for Democrats' Nomination
Author: Greg Valliere
January 23, 2020
GETTING NASTY IN IOWA: The caucuses are less than two weeks away, the candidates are attacking each other, but the name of the game hasn’t changed — catch Joe Biden, the persistent front-runner. Our monthly handicapping is now down to six candidates and the dwindling also-rans:
7. The field: Andrew Yang has some support in Iowa, Tulsi Gabbard could finish in the top five in New Hampshire, but they’re essentially running for 2024. Tom Steyer is wasting his time and money. Is a dark horse, like Colorado Sen. Michael Bennett, lurking? We don’t think so.
6. Amy Klobuchar: She could surprise in Iowa, winning close to 10% of the vote, but where does she go from there? Her increasingly solid performance in the debates will keep Klobuchar in the vice presidential mix.
5. Pete Buttigieg: With plenty of money and a solid core of supporters, the articulate South Bend mayor may stay in the race well into spring. He needs an upset victory in Iowa or New Hampshire, not out of the question but unlikely; his meteoric rise has leveled off.
4. Elizabeth Warren: She hit the proverbial wall during the autumn and has not regained her footing. But we’ll go out on a limb and predict a strong showing for Warren, especially among women, in Iowa.
3. Mike Bloomberg: As of now, we have him in third place but his national polling numbers are inching higher. Bloomberg was the trendy pick earlier this month, but an intense stretch of vetting looms on his finances, his personal life, his stance on issues like guns, etc. Two key unknowns: Can two or three billion dollars buy the presidency, and would the party’s left wing bolt in November rather than vote for a Wall Street billionaire?
2. Bernie Sanders: The party’s establishment may hate him, as we wrote yesterday, but Sanders is in second place in Iowa (and in national polls of Democrats) and he leads narrowly in New Hampshire. Like Donald Trump, Sanders generates passion among his supporters; they love his feisty socialist agenda, so Bernie could be in this race for months to come.
1. Joe Biden: It’s been the same story for months — the pundits (including us) have proclaimed that he’s lost a step, but voters don’t agree or care. They see a good guy who’s fairly moderate and has a chance to beat Trump in key electoral states. Biden is ahead by about four points in Iowa and maintains a solid lead nationally.
TWO NEW FACTORS: The retail phase of this race will end in a few weeks; the tactics will focus on millions of voters ahead of Super Tuesday on March 3. Second, Iowa and New Hampshire are mostly white, and the focus is about to shift to minorities, where Biden has strong support.
SO THE RACE STILL LOOKS LIKE BIDEN’S TO LOSE: Bloomberg is spending at a breathtaking pace, and Biden could stumble — but he hasn’t yet. Uncle Joe may have a winning formula: he’s the anti-Trump, non-threatening, pragmatic, likable and a little boring. Maybe that’s what voters are looking for.
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