In statistical terms, two-tenths of a percentage point is pretty meaningless.
But in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, the slim lead that Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has over former Vice President Joe Biden — at least for one day — is fraught with meaning for Biden’s troubled candidacy.
On Wednesday, the Real Clear Politics average of polls showed, for the first time in the campaign, Warren outpolling Biden with an average of 26.6 percent support to Biden’s 26.4 percent. The two candidates had been a fraction of a point apart since Monday, when Biden led by three-tenths of a percentage point, 26.3 to 26.0.
The recent poll is a vast change from May 10, when Biden was polling at 41.4 percent and Warren was at 8 percent in a very distant third place. Even a month ago, Biden had 29.7 percent support while Warren was at 18 percent.
Biden was the front-runner in virtually every poll taken for the past year until mid-September, when Warren began to emerge as the winner in many of the polls that were taken. The increase in Warren’s poll numbers came not long after the Sept. 12 Democratic presidential debate.
For the past two weeks, Biden’s campaign has been on the defensive regarding the former vice president’s role in Ukraine. In 2016, Biden was among those pressuring Ukraine to dismiss a prosecutor who had been targeting the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, which employed his son, Hunter.
“Joe Biden is this year’s Hillary,” Moore said, referencing the failed campaign of 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. “Joe Biden is not going to excite the base to get out there and vote on Nov. 3, 2020.”
“The things that he said publicly are very strong, but it looks like he’s not really wanting to deal with it. He’s afraid to be out there,” the filmmaker said.
“There’s some piece of this that he doesn’t want to deal with in terms of his son and the gas company and all that. And it’s OK. It’s been proven that nobody did anything wrong. If he’s embarrassed that the kid of a politician got some help, well, I don’t think anybody sitting there at home right now with their TV dinner going, ‘What? Joe Biden’s son got a good job out of this?'” Moore said.
The filmmaker said Biden appears too laid-back.
“He said the right thing, but he’s got to come out fighting,” Moore said. “You don’t want a [Michael] Dukakis moment here when they attack your family and you’re trying to be all kumbaya about this. You’ve got to put the gloves on and you’ve got to go after him. And Biden should be out there every single day on this. Don’t be afraid. It’s OK, your son got a good job.”
Meanwhile, Warren has been gaining.
Warren is now leading Biden in the polls and it is her increased support among black voters that is most impressive.
In the latest Quinnipiac poll, Warren is up 16 points with black voters since July while Biden is down 17 points.
Biden 36% (-17)
Warren 20% (+16)
— Ryan Knight ? (@ProudResister) October 9, 2019
A poll released Tuesday by Quinnipiac University showed Warren with a three-point lead over Biden, 29 percent to 26 percent. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont placed third at 16 percent.
“Warren maintains her strength in the Democratic primary, which has been consistently growing since the start of her campaign,” Quinnipiac polling analyst Tim Malloy said. “This poll confirms her status as a co-frontrunner with Biden.”
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