The Biden bounce (not pounce) looks real

Now that former VP Joe Biden is officially in the running (as opposed to unofficially running as he did for the better part of a year), have his fortunes improved in the polling race? He was already leading in nearly every survey before the announcement, and with nineteen competitors battling for support, I wasn’t sure how much room he had left before hitting a ceiling. Turns out there was some room after all. The latest Morning Consult poll is out and Uncle Joe has seen a six-point bump since putting out his announcement video. That’s well outside the margin of error and is pretty tough to ignore. (Politico)

Already the front-runner in early polls, Joe Biden is getting a significant bounce out of his campaign rollout, according to Morning Consult’s weekly tracking poll of the Democratic presidential race.

Biden, who announced his bid last Thursday and held his first rally Monday in Pittsburgh, is now the first choice of more than a third of those who plan to participate in their state’s Democratic primary or caucus, with 36 percent of Democratic voters saying they prefer the former vice president as the party’s nominee to take on President Donald Trump next year. That is a 6-point increase from last week, when Biden led the pack with 30 percent.

The poll was conducted April 22-28, surveying 15,475 voters who plan to vote in a Democratic primary or caucus. The margin of error is plus or minus 1 percentage point.

Not much has really changed except for a bit of shuffling around of the deck chairs back in the second tier. Biden and Sanders are now sucking up a combined 58% of potential supporters between them. (Bernie comes in at a respectable 22%, fourteen points back from Biden.) Nobody else even makes it out of single digits, though Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg are close at nine and eight percent respectively.

It’s worth noting that at the same time, CNN released their own latest poll. They’ve got Biden even further ahead at 39, with Bernie Sanders trailing back at 15%. They similarly have Warren and Buttigieg in third and fourth place respectively and still in single digits. That tends to add some heft to the Morning Consult numbers.

We’re still a million miles from the finish line, so this can always change. But will that happen this year? Biden’s lead isn’t insurmountable, and won’t be unless he gets above fifty, which seems highly unlikely in this broad of a field. But at the same time, he’s been in the thirties for months now and nothing seems to be shaking him out of his tree. He seems to have weathered all of the “Creepy Uncle Joe” headlines without taking much damage. His opponents are dredging up every old headline about him they can find, from the Anita Hill hearings to his vote to restore Robert E. Lee’s citizenship. And at least thus far, Joe has shrugged them all off like water off a duck’s back.

What else can people come up with to try to tag Biden and cut into his lead? The guy has basically been around Washington longer than anyone except the man the city is named after. He’s lived his adult life in the spotlight and there are records of virtually everything he’s ever done. If there are any serious skeletons left in his closet it would be a major surprise. But then, 36 percent isn’t 50 percent. If some of those folks at the back of the pack start dropping out after the Iowa straw poll and they all start consolidating around one or two candidates (Bernie and Mayor Pete, maybe?), it could become a lot closer. And Bernie is looking pretty strong in both Iowa and New Hampshire thus far, so that might give him a boost in the early voting.

Still, if I had to put my money on anyone at this point it would probably be Uncle Joe. You get the sense that the Democratic base is looking for a safe bet and somebody with the best chance of beating Trump. Biden makes a strong case for being both.