But it’s not just that O’Rourke has seen his numbers decline nationally — it’s that his polls look even worse in the early caucus and primary states. I could not find a single poll in Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina conducted after Biden entered in which O’Rourke polled above 3%. These, of course, are the states that O’Rourke has been visiting over and over again throughout the last few months. It apparently hasn’t done any good.
The internal data in the polls don’t necessarily look any better. Monmouth, for example, asked New Hampshire Democratic primary voters whether they have a favorable or unfavorable view of the different Democrats running for president. O’Rourke isn’t unpopular, with a 45% favorable to 16% unfavorable rating. But relatively, he’s more unpopular than other Democrats running. Among those candidates for whom at least 50% of the voters had an opinion, O’Rourke ranked seventh out of nine for favorable to unfavorable ratio. Buttigieg, who had the same name recognition as O’Rourke, had a 54% favorable rating. Compare that to O’Rourke’s 45% favorable rating.
One contributing factor in O’Rourke’s drop is that the news media doesn’t seem anywhere near as interested in him as they once were. O’Rourke received more coverage on cable news during the last week of March than any announced candidate, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis. Since that point, O’Rourke’s coverage has dropped.