I know what you’re thinking but there’s actually plenty of diversity among the frontrunners. Two are extremely old white guys whereas one is a middle-aged white guy and another is a youngish white guy.
Every time I have a rash thought like “A candidate as allegedly strong as Kamala Harris probably shouldn’t trail a dark horse like Pete Buttigieg at any point of this race,” I remind myself that Jeb Bush was leading Republican primary polls at this point in 2015.
Then I remind myself that all of the guys trailing Jeb at that point went on to lose as well, in most cases even worse than he did. So maybe there should be a whiff — not a stench or even a smell, just a whiff — of anxiety in Harrisworld right now.
— Emerson College Polling (@EmersonPolling) April 15, 2019
Congratulations to “serious” candidate Cory Booker on trailing Andrew Yang and not-at-all-serious candidate Kirsten Gillibrand on trailing literally everyone. Fingers crossed that she’ll eventually break that tie with Marianne Williamson at zero percent.
And condolences to Eric Swalwell, Jay Inslee, John Hickenlooper, John Delaney, and Mike Gravel, all of whom have somehow failed to capitalize on Democratic voters’ torrid love affair with white maleness.
It’s noteworthy that Bernie leads the pack here with 29 percent, the first time (I think) that he’s led Biden in a national poll. The last survey from this same pollster also had Sanders doing a bit better against Uncle Joe than others tend to, with the two tied at 26 percent as of late March. I’m tempted to wonder if Biden’s been hurt by reports of his handsiness after all but there may simply be a pro-Bernie “house effect” in Emerson’s data. In fact, the most interesting number buried in the summary is how the “second choice” vote splits in case Biden decides not to run. Sanders takes 31 percent of Biden’s voters in that case, much more than the next highest candidate does. That resembles what happened in another recent poll when Democrats were asked how they’d vote if Biden didn’t run:
But Change Research also conducted a version of the poll with only declared candidates — leaving out Biden and other potential late entrants.1 And that showed a much different, more wide-open race. Sanders was in first with 24 percent, and five other candidates were in double digits: Beto O’Rourke (16 percent), Harris (15), Cory Booker (12), Pete Buttigieg (12) and Elizabeth Warren (11 percent).
That same poll found Biden far ahead if he jumps in, leading Sanders 32/14. Bernie gains 10 points instantly without Uncle Joe around. The neoliberals waiting on Biden are going to point to that and warn him that if he passes on the race, there may be no stopping Sanders and the socialist tide. They need him in if only to “hoard” some centrist-leaning Democratic voters for awhile while lesser-known candidates who might be able to beat Sanders from the center establish themselves.
Speaking of Biden’s second-choice votes, the person who finished second behind Bernie in Emerson’s poll isn’t Harris or Elizabeth Warren but Pete Buttigieg. Yet another poll last week suggested that Buttigieg is eating into Sanders’s base of young adults and devout liberals, leaving one to wonder how much better Bernie might be doing if Mayor Pete hadn’t decided to run. Olivia Nuzzi did an efficient job in her profile of Buttigieg for New York mag in explaining why he’s more palatable to many voters than a geriatric revolutionary like Bernie:
Sick of old people? He looks like Alex P. Keaton. Scared of young people? He looks like Alex P. Keaton. Religious? He’s a Christian. Atheist? He’s not weird about it. Wary of Washington? He’s from flyover country. Horrified by flyover country? He has degrees from Harvard and Oxford. Make the President Read Again? He learned Norwegian to read Erlend Loe. Traditional? He’s married. Woke? He’s gay. Way behind the rest of the country on that? He’s not too gay. Worried about socialism? He’s a technocratic capitalist. Worried about technocratic capitalists? He’s got a whole theory about how our system of “democratic capitalism” has to be a whole lot more “democratic.” If you squint hard enough to not see color, some people say, you can almost see Obama the inspiring professor. Oh, and he’s the son of an immigrant, a Navy vet, speaks seven foreign languages (in addition to Norwegian, Arabic, Spanish, Maltese, Dari, French, and Italian), owns two rescue dogs, and plays the goddamn piano.
Weird but true: If Biden announced today that he’s out, the next few weeks or even months of polling might show a two-man race between the most prominent socialist in America and the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who won’t even be 40 on Inauguration Day 2021.
Here’s the second-most prominent socialist in America telling Yahoo News that she doesn’t want to nominate Joe Biden lest we go back to the “good old days” of … 2017.
.@AOC on Joe Biden: “I can understand why people would be excited by that, this idea that we can go back to the good old days with Obama with Obama’s vice president. There’s an emotional element to that, but I don’t want to go back. I want to go forward.” https://t.co/HElHz0DAS5 pic.twitter.com/WQ1IINnlua
— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) April 15, 2019