Former vice president Joe Biden’s campaign staffers have begun playing down expectations in the Iowa caucuses in response to their candidate’s underperformance in recent polls conducted in the first primary state.
“I think we’re the only ones who don’t have to win Iowa, honestly,” Biden campaign manager Greg Schultz told the Wall Street Journal, “because our strength is the fact that we have a broad and diverse coalition.”
A Siena College/New York Times poll released Friday predicted Biden will take fourth place in the Iowa caucuses. Left-wing challengers Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders come in first and second respectively, with the more moderate Pete Buttigieg taking third place.
The Iowa caucuses could “have three or four or five candidates all within a couple of percentage points. Does anybody win? Technically, yes, maybe,” said Schultz. “But does that give you clarity on where the heart of the Democratic Party is? I would say, ‘no.’”
Biden still leads the Democratic field in national polling. His team is hoping that Biden’s wide support among black voters will help propel him to the front of the race in the primaries following Iowa.
The former vice president has come out against Warren’s and Sanders’s promise of “medicare for all” plans in trying to win over more moderate voters.
“The plan put forward by Bernie and Elizabeth, even out here, is not embraced by a majority of the people,” Biden said. “And so I think what people are going to start to focus on, at least I hope, is a little bit of . . . truth in advertising.”
Warren released her universal Medicare plan on Friday. The plan require $21 trillion in new government spending over ten years, while Sanders’s carries a $32 trillion price tag over the same period.