We’ve seen more than a few cases of Democratic 2020 hopefuls not polling terribly well in their home states. That’s not really too unusual, but it sets a rather clunky tone for the campaign when it happens. The latest member of this club is Massachusettes Senator Elizabeth Warren. She was generating a lot of buzz in the early going but has struggled to gain much ground in the polls this year. Even worse, a recent Emerson poll in her home state indicates that she’s not even the favorite there. In fact, she misses the mark by a long shot.
The first Emerson Poll in Massachusetts of the 2020 primary finds Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders with 26% of the vote in the Democratic field, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden at 23%, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren at 14%, Mayor of South Bend Pete Buttigieg at 11%, former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke at 8%, and California Senator Kamala Harris at 7%. 5% of voters are looking for another candidate. (April 4-7, n=371, +/- 5%).
There’s really no way to put a good spin on this for Warren. All of the marginal candidates need to have some sort of a firewall, both in terms of popular support and fundraising, or it becomes increasingly difficult to justify staying in the race. If Warren is getting trounced by Bernie Sanders (and Joe Biden, assuming he gets in) this badly in her own backyard, things aren’t looking promising. Michael Graham at the New Hampshire Journal spells out why this is such bad news.
Director of Emerson Polling Spencer Kimball tells NHJournal that these numbers “put even more pressure on Warren to perform well in the Granite State because she obviously hasn’t shored up her base at home.”
“If she loses in the early states, particularly New Hampshire, it’s hard to see how she survives a loss in Massachusetts,” Kimball says.
Once again, one of the real surprises in this survey isn’t found at the top of the ticket. Seeing Sanders and Joe Biden battling it out is becoming the standard in most of the nation. Warren, while polling nationally at under six percent, would be expected to do at least a little better in her home state. But the only other person making it into double digits is South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. How did he make it up to 11%?
He gave a speech at Northeastern University last week, but it’s tough to see that moving the needle in such a dramatic fashion so quickly. Other than that I don’t see any record of him campaigning in Massachusettes this year. He did attend Harvard, but I don’t know if that’s enough to establish yourself as a native son.
In any event, this is just one more data point to keep in your pocket moving forward. We’re seeing two very different stories emerging out of Massachusettes. One provides rather dismal news for Elizabeth Warren. The other should be very encouraging for both Bernie Sanders and Mayor Pete.