Even with the election more than a year and a half out, the 2020 presidential race continues to heat up. Initial rounds of polling make President Donald Trump’s chances at re-election seem slim, with a new Emerson College survey putting former Vice President Joe Biden a full 10 points ahead of Trump in a hypothetical 2020 matchup. Biden pulled in 55 percent of the support, while Trump only managed 45 percent.
To be sure — Biden hasn’t yet announced a presidential candidacy, but he’s strongly indicated he’s leaning that direction. At a recent conference of the International Association of Fire Fighters, Biden told the enthusiastic crowd to save their energy because he “may need it in a few weeks,” while at a more recent Democratic Party fundraiser he almost made it “official” that he’s running for president but quickly corrected himself. He told the crowd that despite criticism from the “New Left,” he has the “most progressive record of anybody running” for president — quickly adding that he meant he’s “progressive” among anyone who could and would, in theory, run for president, not those who actually are.
Trump seized on that slip of the tongue, deriding Biden as “another low I.Q. individual,” apparently ignoring the reflection in his phone screen when posting that angry tweet. While he may not be “low I.Q.” Trump has lied thousands upon thousands of times since taking office, completely taking leave of reality in what maybe started as a willing rejection of inconvenience but is long out of hand. Trump literally just makes stuff up, offering easily disproved lies time and time again.
Biden did the best among potential 2020 general election challengers to Trump when Emerson College paired them with the current president in polling. Every other one of the top five Democratic primary contenders came within a margin of error of Trump’s level of support — and former Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s margin was negative. He had 49 percent of the support compared to Trump’s 51 percent.
Adding possible third party presidential contender and widely derided former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to the mix drops the Democratic contenders’ vote shares significantly. In Emerson College’s projections, Biden’s lead falls to 8 percent, while O’Rourke still loses by 2 percent but with his and Trump’s overall support dropping by 5 percent. In that matchup, Schultz gets 10 percent of the vote to Trump’s 46 percent and O’Rourke’s 44.
As for which of these matchups is the most likely in the first place — Emerson College has Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and Biden tied with 26 percent of Democratic primary support, while Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) and O’Rourke have 12 and 11 percent of the support, respectively. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) rounds out the top 5 with 8 percent of the support of those polled.
Sanders and O’Rourke’s support has risen substantially in the time since they announced their respective candidacies. Sanders’ base spiked by 9 percent, while O’Rourke’s support went up by 7.
While the polling remains preliminary at this point, the race is already most certainly underway. Trump has rallied numerous times, as have a number of Democratic candidates like Sanders and Harris on high-profile occasions.