Debate eve poll: Warren ties Biden at 26% in new YouGov survey

Debate eve poll: Warren ties Biden at 26% in new YouGov survey

Dude, I think he’s done.

Well … not done-done. He won’t be really done until he starts slipping with black voters. But a man whose advantage depends on electability, and whose electability depends in part on his polling lead, can’t sustain discouraging polls as easily as other candidates can. If Warren beats him up tomorrow night and a flurry of polls issue next week showing her surging ahead, I’m not sure Grandpa Joe ever quite regains altitude.

It should be noted upfront that YouGov’s polling typically has worse numbers for Biden than other pollsters do, for whatever reason. Twenty-six percent in today’s survey is actually a good showing for him there even though he’s at 28 percent or better in most other polls. But it should also be noted that Warren’s 26 percent share of the vote here, tying Biden for first, is the single best national poll she’s ever had. Ever. Only once before had she ever been north of 22 percent. The fact that she’s now in uncharted territory makes this a big deal.

That’s not the only discouraging poll for him out today. A new one out of New Hampshire has him trailing Bernie Sanders by eight(!). And although CNN still has him ahead of Warren nationally, 24/18, that’s a five-point slide for him and a four-point gain for her since last month. His electability advantage isn’t as strong either:

The reason he’s still holding on overall is because he enjoys a huge 30-point lead among black Democrats. Which makes tomorrow night doubly dangerous for him: Even if Warren doesn’t damage him, a strong showing by Kamala Harris or Cory Booker that knocks him back among black voters could be enough to send him tumbling behind Warren.

I wonder what Team Warren is hoping black voters do. Obviously she’d like to win their support, but if this ends up a three-way race for black Dems between Biden, Harris, and Booker before Iowa, if I’m Warren I think I’d prefer for those voters to stick with Grandpa Joe. Simple reason: He’s a soft frontrunner and Harris or Booker could be formidable if they built momentum. Plus, there are few black voters in Iowa and New Hampshire so Biden won’t benefit from their support in the early states. If they stick with Joe, Harris and Booker will be sidelined; then Warren can try to beat him in Iowa and New Hampshire, taking control of the presidential race, and hope that black voters in South Carolina race to embrace her in South Carolina as the new presumptive favorite for the nomination.

There is some good polling news for Biden today, though. This number from CNN’s data stands out:

On a gut-check vote for Democrats between the centrist Biden and the progressive warriors Warren or Sanders, Joe has the advantage. Rank-and-file Dems are more moderate on average than their noisy online progressive colleagues.

This result from ABC/WaPo’s new survey is also good for him, to put it mildly:

The president saw that number this morning and didn’t react well. Biden’s Democratic competition would point out that all of them are leading Trump head to head in this poll, and by sizable margins: Bernie’s ahead 52/43, Warren’s up 51/44, even Harris and Buttigieg are in front albeit more modestly. But Dems obviously will want to play their strongest hand against Trump next fall and head-to-head polling consistently shows that hand is Biden. I wonder, in fact, if it will put him over the top in the early states if hypothetical match-ups like this showing him with gargantuan leads over POTUS are still coming out in January of next year. It’s his ultimate “electability” card, even if his lead over Sanders and Warren begins to slip.

In lieu of an exit question, I leave you with this from YouGov’s data guy. This is going to be some campaign.

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