The New York Times may have really scrambled the Democratic presidential primary with the eye-opening poll numbers that Rich discusses here. In a nutshell, none of the big three Democratic contenders look like a slam dunk in the six states most likely to determine the 2020 election: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Biden does best, but his leads are one to two percentage points – hardly a safe bet, with a year to go and the former vice president seeming not quite as verbally and mentally sharp as Democrats would prefer.
Previous polling suggested Trump had lost at least a small portion of his base of supporters from three years ago. Maybe not! “In contrast to recent national surveys, the Times/Siena polls find that the president’s lead among white, working-class voters nearly matches his decisive advantage from 2016. This group represents nearly half of registered voters in these states, and a majority in the Northern battlegrounds that decided the last election.”
If you’re a Democrat who has nagging doubts about the big three, maybe it’s time to take one last long look at Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar or Cory Booker as some sort of consensus candidate. Heck, maybe even Kamala Harris, although no other Democratic candidate’s numbers have tumbled the way hers have. (On July 5, Harris ranked second in the RealClearPolitics average!)
As I wrote when Tim Ryan departed the race – I know, you forgot about him already – the Ohio congressman was the one candidate in the gargantuan pool who was focused on winning back those white working-class voters in those key states. Maybe Democrats shouldn’t have been so quick to turn their noses up at him. Hey, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock’s still running, maybe the party should give a second look to the guy who’s figured out how to win in a red state?
Meanwhile Beto O’Rourke’s departure from the race really raises tough questions for all the candidates who have even less support than O’Rourke. Tom Steyer, Michael Bennet, Julian Castro, John Delaney, Bullock… what are you doing? Your campaigns are so over, Matthew Broderick has shown up in a bathrobe, telling you to go home.
Yes, Steyer qualified for the next debate. The fact that he has, and that Tulsi Gabbard and Marianne Williamson have not yet qualified, demonstrates that the DNC criteria are aligning to give us the most boring candidate selection possible at the Nov. 20 debate in Georgia.