Former Vice President Joe Biden saw support drop while South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg gained voters in the most recent Emerson poll.
He stumbled in the past few weeks after multiple women accused him of inappropriate touching, spawning a debate over whether Biden’s alleged actions were a symptom of a wider issue — that he was too old and out of step to be the candidate of the Democratic Party.
— The Hill (@thehill) April 15, 2019
Coupled with Biden’s slip, Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, had one of his strongest showings to date to capture the lead in the Emerson poll with 29 percent support.
The biggest gain belonged to Buttigieg, who had never polled at higher than 1 percent support in any poll prior to mid-March and was at 3 percent support in Emerson’s March poll.
In April, Buttigieg had risen to 9 percent support, to capture third place in the poll behind Biden and Sanders and ahead of a bevy of senators and other previously better-known candidates.
“While still early in the nominating process, it looks like Mayor Pete is the candidate capturing voters’ imagination; the numbers had him at 0 percent in mid-February, 3 percent in March and now at 9 percent in April,” said Spencer Kimball, Director of Emerson Polling,
At the top of the poll, Kimball said Biden has fallen as Sanders keeps getting stronger.
“Biden has seen his support drop. In February, he led Sanders 27 percent to 17 percent, and in March the two were tied at 26 percent.,” Kimball said. “Now, Sanders has a 5 point lead, 29 percent to 24 percent.”
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas and Sen. Kamala Harris of California led the rest of the pack with 8 percent support. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts came next at 7 percent.
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro were each at 3 percent. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey polled at 2 percent support. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney all came in at 1 percent. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York was at 0 percent support.
Biden has still not made an official announcement that he will run. The poll asked Biden supporters who they would back if their candidate does not run. According to the poll, Sanders would pick up 31 percent of Biden’s backers, Buttigieg would get 17 percent and O’Rourke would get 13 percent.
Buttigieg’s rise has brought scrutiny to his time as mayor. Recent reports noted that he rejected the application of a pro-life crisis pregnancy center to open near a spot that had been approved for an abortion clinic.
There is also a brewing issue over tapes from 2012 that contain conversations among police officers and led to the firing of the then-police chief in South Bend, The Hill reported. Because the chief, Darryl Boykins, was black, there is a racial element to the hunt to get the tapes made public so voters can hear them.
“There’s a level of frustration,” said Karen White, a black city council member. “We want this issue to be brought to closure to ensure this issue does not polarize our community further. We have a right to know [what’s on the tapes], as do our citizens.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.