The United States continues to hurtle towards the 2020 election, and even though it’s more than a year and a half away, the two major parties’ presidential offerings are taking some clear shape. A new poll has former Vice President Joe Biden way out ahead of everyone else in the Democratic presidential primary field, with 44 percent of the support to second place contender Sen. Bernie Sanders’s 14 percent. Behind Sanders, at only the third place mark, Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) is already at only about 9 percent of the support.
Although the Harvard CAPS/Harris poll is certainly just that — a single, solitary poll — it squares up roughly with a trend that’s emerged pretty clearly in other recent polling. A recent CNN poll has Biden with a full 39 percent of the support to just 15 percent for Sanders and 8 percent for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), who’s surged somewhat in the RealClearPolitics average of relevant polling, ending up in the third place spot. Meanwhile, another recent poll — this time from Quinnipiac University — also had Biden way out ahead, giving him 38 percent of the support compared to 12 percent for Warren and only 11 percent for Sanders.
The Biden surge has followed him finally getting around to formally announcing his campaign after months of inching that direction and dropping hints that’s what he was prepping for. He’s jumped right into sparring with President Donald Trump, sparking rounds of headlines like those focusing on the controversial commentary Trump offered after white nationalist-fueled violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, back in 2017. At the time, the president claimed there were “very fine people” on both sides.
Besides that, Trump has also engaged in familiar tactics towards those who he finds most substantively threatening, tearing into Biden as “Sleepy Joe” in an attempt to rile up his base against him. In reality, Trump is only four years younger than Biden, and he himself set the currently in-place record for oldest inaugurated president at his swearing-in back in 2017. Still, the situation makes one thing pretty clear — Trump sees Biden as a potent threat, meaning the new surge in his polling numbers is bad news for him. 26 percent of those newly surveyed shared that the ability to beat Trump was the most important quality in a candidate for them. (30 percent named alignment on their takes on the issues as the most important.)
The new Harvard CAPS/Harris poll’s co-director Mark Penn shared:
‘The Biden surge is significant and greater than expected. His launch was super successful and he has opened up a significant lead.’
Previous polling had Biden pretty high up in the field but not this high. A Harvard CAPS/Harris poll from March had him with about 35 percent of the support, and overall, he averaged in the high 20s around that time, although he hadn’t yet even formally indicated he would be running for president.
Biden has positioned his candidacy in these first stretches as for the people of America Trump has ignored, garnering an endorsement from the International Association of Fire Fighters as evidence of that. Trump has long rebuffed labor unions.
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