The Corner

Elections

Poll: Biden Pays No Price for Uproar over His Handsiness

Joe Biden in Montclair, N.J., September 5, 2018 (Reuters/Shannon Stapleton)

The first national poll of the Democratic primary since Joe Biden’s handsiness became a top national news story finds that the scandal hasn’t put a dent in Biden’s Democratic coalition.

In the week before the story blew up on the weekend of March 31, a Politico/Morning Consult poll showed Biden in first place at 33 percent. In the new Morning Consult poll, conducted from April 1 to April 7, Biden is in first place at 32 percent. His favorability rating dipped from 78 percent to 75 percent.

The fact that the online furor over Biden’s too-close-for-comfort contact hasn’t hurt his polling is a good reminder that the coalition of Democrats who back Biden is wildly underrepresented on Twitter, where the former vice president’s likely campaign was pronounced D.O.A. last week.

A national Quinnipiac poll last month showed Biden with a 10-point lead among all Democratic primary voters, but he was in third place among Democrats who describe themselves as “very liberal.” Biden’s coalition is primarily made up of Democrats who describe themselves as moderate, conservative, or somewhat liberal. His coalition also skews older: Among voters age 18 to 49, he trailed Bernie Sanders by 4 points. Among Democrats age 50 and over, Biden led Sanders by 25 points.

We’re still about ten long months away from the Iowa caucuses, and Biden certainly has a lot of weaknesses that could sink him in the Democratic primary, but the widespread belief among many pundits that Biden has “almost no chance to win the nomination” strikes me as more than a bit bonkers.

Maybe at this moment Biden has a 20- to 30-percent chance of winning the nomination (which is to say that there is a 70- to 80-percent chance that Biden will not be the nominee), but that’s still about as good of a shot or better than any other candidate in this wide open race.

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