For all intents and purposes, former Vice President Joe Biden is the “presumptive nominee” in the 2020 Democratic primary race. But he shouldn’t get too comfortable.
Poll: Biden voters lack enthusiasm
The poll, conducted with more than 1,000 adults by phone over the course of March 22-25, had a margin of error of about 3.5% and was stacked in favor of Biden with a partisan demographic breakdown of 30% Democrats, 24% Republicans, and 37% independents.
Overall, Biden came out on top over Trump by a margin of 49-47% among registered voters and a margin of 50-44% among all adults, but ABC noted that those margins had contracted substantially since a previous poll in February that showed much more significant leads for Biden.
One of the primary reasons for Biden’s shrinking lead over Trump — even in a skewed poll — is the lack of enthusiasm among Democratic voters for Biden’s candidacy. As noted, only 24% were “very” enthusiastic to vote for him, while 49% said they were “somewhat” enthusiastic and 26% said they weren’t enthusiastic about Biden at all.
Compare that to the enthusiasm levels for Trump, where 53% percent of his supporters were “very” enthusiastic to vote for him, 32% were “somewhat” enthusiastic, and only 14% weren’t enthusiastic at all.
Low enthusiasm leads to low turnout
ABC noted that the meager level of strong enthusiasm for Biden was “the lowest on record for a Democratic presidential candidate in 20 years of ABC/Post polls.” In fact, it’s worse than what was seen for failed 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton, who previously set the low mark for Democrats with only 32% of supporters who were strongly enthusiastic about her candidacy.
Furthermore, the only other candidates who have experienced lower levels of strong enthusiasm were Sen. John McCain in 2008 with 17% and Mitt Romney in 2012 with 23%. Notably, McCain, Romney, and Clinton all lost their elections after trailing their opponents in terms of enthusiasm among supporters, which is a direct indicator of Election Day turnout.
Making matters even worse for Biden is the fact that, while the Democratic primary race has been whittled down to just him and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Biden only draws the support of 51% of Democrats as compared to 42% for Sanders. On top of that, roughly 15% of Sanders’ supporters have said that they’d vote for Trump over Biden in November, which is roughly equivalent to what happened in 2016 when Clinton became the nominee.
Trump beats Biden on coronavirus, economy
The bad news for Biden didn’t stop there, either, as The Post noted that the pollsters asked voters about three distinct issues and Biden only came out on top with one of them. That sole victory on the issues was who best would handle the nation’s health care, and Biden bested Trump by a margin of 51-41%.
In terms of handling the economy, even in spite of the recent downturn brought about by the new coronavirus, Trump beat Biden by a margin of 52-42%. Speaking of the coronavirus, and in spite of incessant bad media and criticism from Democrats, those who were polled chose Trump over Biden as the best to handle the crisis by a margin of 47-43%.
This is not good news for Biden, as dealing with the coronavirus and bringing the economy back from an unprecedented shutdown will be crucial issues for voters this fall. As for health care, consider also that Biden intends to strengthen Obamacare and impose more government control. Given the bureaucratic failures evidenced by the federal agencies’ lagging coronavirus response, this approach may not play as well with voters as it once did pre-pandemic.