Warren on the Brink

Please throw this back in my face if President Warren is inaugurated 14 months from now, but she’s in legit trouble at the moment. A new national survey from Quinnipiac is out. Before we continue, yes, I’m aware this is a single data point. I’m further aware Warren is the top second place choice of respondents. And I know most voters aren’t fully locked in yet. Also, nobody votes for more than two months.

She’s still got a big problem. First, Warren clocked in at 14%. Six weeks ago, her national average was almost double that. It’s a big drop. For all of Joe Biden’s slips and slides, this hasn’t happened to him. Next, Quinnipiac is normally very favorable to Warren. In four surveys taken between late September and late October, she scored 27, 29, 30, and 28 percent.

In those same polls, Pete Buttigieg recorded 7, 4, 8 and 10 percent. So the closest of these had her ahead of him by 18 points. Now he’s ahead 16-14. Continue reading “Warren on the Brink”

Did the Debate Matter?

Enough to overpower the Impeachment hearings? Hell no. Today’s revelations will overpower whatever the world remembers from the debate. Yesterday, observers were already burned out from the hearings before the debate started. The universe of people who are super excited about the Democratic nomination contest, but don’t care about the hearings is very small.

And anger over Trump is greater than excitement for candidates who’ve been running long enough to have concerns about them, but haven’t had the primary victories to quiet those fears. It’s an awkward time under the best of times, but this doesn’t resemble the best of times. So you won’t hear much at all about it after today. But the following outcomes are more likely than they were 24 hours ago:

Buttigieg moves forward

No, he didn’t get hit as much as expected. No, this wasn’t the debate performance of the century. No, he’s not going to suddenly have lots of African American supporters. Yes, he still has to worry about Amy Klobuchar in Iowa. Yes, he may lost back some of his recent gains in Iowa and New Hampshire. Continue reading “Did the Debate Matter?”

Pre-Debate Numbers Check

This seems like an appropriate time to take a glance at where the candidates are. Particularly the four who are most likely to win the nomination. None of the others are showing up in double digits anywhere. So if they do soon, it’s likely this debate helped.

Biden is looking better than he has in months

A funny thing happened on the way to Uncle Joe’s Implosion. He’s now up by 13 points in the Real Clear Politics national average. It’s not just that he’s back over 30 percent and Warren is under 20 for the first time in a couple months. Sometimes the fluctuations are based more on who surveyed than how strong the candidate is.

The Economist/YouGov poll is consistently bullish on Elizabeth Warren and relatively bearish on Biden. They began surveying on a roughly weekly basis in early June. Their newest results are the first time Biden has reached 30%. He’s back to 30% for the first time in a couple months in the latest from The Hill.

He’s up by 9 in the most recent Texas poll. Leading narrowly in the most current survey from California. A few weeks ago, Biden was contending in Nevada. Now he’s clearly leading. A new Wisconsin survey from Marquette has him up 13 points on Bernie Sanders and 15 on Warren. Continue reading “Pre-Debate Numbers Check”

Debate Prep: Advice Time

The last few debates haven’t shaken the ground much. Not saying they were irrelevant, but less interesting/meaningful than the average pre-primary debate cycle. Think that’s gonna change tomorrow. Don’t look for giant changes in national polls. Instead, it’s likely to influence Iowa and New Hampshire. At this point, that’s where the game is anyway.

If I was talking to the candidates about tomorrow, this is what I would tell them:

Control Their Own Destiny Group:

Nobody in this group needs to wait for someone else to mess up. Each have a path to the prize. As of this writing, PredictIt clusters their respective nomination odds between 14% and 26%. That’s not quite a four-way tie, but as close as you’re going to see at this point.

They’re separated by less than 5 points in the Real Clear Politics Iowa average too. New Hampshire is an 8 point spread. In both cases, the gap between 4th and 5th is larger than between 1st and 4th.

Joe Biden

Forget the panic over him potentially finishing fourth in Iowa. Yes, it could really happen. He also is lead in ten straight polls of any kind tracked by FiveThirtyEight. National, Texas, Georgia, California, Arizona, South Carolina. Basically everywhere the Democratic electorate isn’t 80-90% white. Continue reading “Debate Prep: Advice Time”

Iowa Speaks

At this time of the pre-primary season, the most important pollster is J. Ann Selzer. Her surveys for the Des Moines Register/CNN are considered the most accurate of anyone who polls Iowa. Over the weekend, her latest poll dropped, and it’s the clearest indication yet that we have a four person race for the nomination.

Nationally, Joe Biden is still the front-runner. New surveys from Nevada and South Carolina are reinforcing the idea he’s still very strong in the two early states which actually have voters of color. A ton of voters are still very much open to the idea of voting for Elizabeth Warren. Bernie Sanders has firmed up his base, and is in striking distance of the lead in the first three states.

The story right now is Pete Buttigieg. He’s up 9 points on Warren, 10 on Biden/Sanders in the new Selzer poll. When the same survey was done two months ago, he was at 9%. Now he’s at 25%. If the caucus were today, and this survey was accurate, we’d have a whole different contest.

This prompts a couple of questions.

Was this foreseeable? Yes. Previous DMR/CNN surveys from June and September showed this was very possible.

If Mayor Pete should stumble before the finish line (these next 11 weeks will be an eternity for him), who besides Warren, Biden, or Sanders could benefit? Is there another sleeper hiding in plain sight? Continue reading “Iowa Speaks”

How Bernie Wins (Part One)

A year ago, I thought Bernie Sanders had almost no chance at the nomination. You only get to be an insurgent once. He pushed Hillary Clinton in large part because he was the only vessel to protest her coronation. Many other candidates had taken up key parts of his platform. It was a victory for his cause, but hurt his odds.

Even before Joe Biden signed up, Bernie’s poll numbers were in the mid-high 20s at absolute best. That’s not good for a candidate with 100% name recognition who finished second last time. This was before Elizabeth Warren became a serious contender too.

Every so often, he winds up with a 9% Iowa poll result, or 12% nationally, the sort of thing that makes it seem like we shouldn’t even talk about him as an upper tier candidate. Also he’s 78. And had a heart attack. He seems to have no interest in seducing the press or broadening his coalition.

Yes, he has money. But so do Warren and Pete Buttigieg. And Biden may not need very much. Plus he has the Super PAC now. It’s hard to imagine Sanders having an easy time at a contested Democratic Convention.

Last time, Bernie did best in states holding caucuses. Lower attendance gave the true believer Berners more impact. After his Iowa virtual tie and Nevada loss, Bernie won the rest. This time, most of those caucuses are now primaries.

So how does he do this? Continue reading “How Bernie Wins (Part One)”

Where is Mayor Pete’s West Virginia?

Pete Buttigieg is hardly trying to be the first first. Al Smith became the first Catholic major party nominee in 1928. JFK broke that barrier for winning candidates in 1960. The African American barrier fell in 2008, a woman won the national popular vote in 2016. Donald Trump was a first too. A president who had never held elective office, nor served as a military general.

Mayor Pete wouldn’t be the first out of nowhere candidate to win a nomination under the current primary system either. “Jimmy Who” knocked down that wall in 1976. But he is trying to combine being the first openly gay nominee/president with having had zero national public footprint before running.

To add an extra degree of difficulty, Buttigieg currently has zero support among African American Democrats, so he’s trying to do all of this without the help of a key constituency. This is why Deval Patrick and those who will fund him are under the illusion his candidacy is useful. Continue reading “Where is Mayor Pete’s West Virginia?”

When Donors Have Money Burning Holes in Their Pockets

First it was Mike Bloomberg. Now maybe Deval Patrick. As if the Democratic field wasn’t large enough, a second possible candidate who ruled out running months ago is on the verge of officially changing his mind.

Again, the stated reason is concern with the present field due to Warren/Sanders being too far left and Joe Biden being as washed as the evidence suggests. Getting scared at this stage of the race isn’t unusual.

Nine months ago, the candidates were shiny and new. Beto O’Rourke was an exciting contender, Kamala Harris a betting favorite. Biden wasn’t the Messiah, but people did think he might still be partially coherent.

Now, they’re dented and scratched. Bernie had a heart attack, Warren has managed to wait too long explaining her health care plan, propose $50 trillion in costs for it, and claim she can pay for all of it without charging middle class voters a dime.

Continue reading “When Donors Have Money Burning Holes in Their Pockets”


Just when you thought there was a shortage of men born in the 1940s running for president, Mike Bloomberg is primed to fly in for the rescue. Apparently Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Donald Trump, and Bill Weld are not enough. Like the other two Democrats on this list, Bloomberg would spend part of a first term past the age of 80.

Much as I’m sure he’s looking to help satiate my curiosity about how old of a human can survive in the most stressful job ever invented, the reason for Bloomberg’s latest maybe he will, maybe he won’t venture is concern over how far left Elizabeth Warren and Sanders are pulling the Democratic field on economic issues, and the more than decent odds one of them could win the nomination.

This is a perfectly reasonable concern. A majority of Americans oppose eliminating private medical insurance. Recent swing state polling by the NYT/Siena College shows Sanders and Warren in a very precarious position against Trump. Even Biden leads by only a small margin in those key states, and Bloomberg isn’t the only one wondering if Uncle Joe can go the distance.

So enter Bloomberg, stage right. What are we to think of this? Continue reading “Bloomberg?!?!?”

Is Biden the Next Newt or Rudy?

This isn’t intended as the slam it most definitely reads like. Prior to becoming Trump Era caricatures of themselves, both Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich faced a scenario somewhat similar to what Joe Biden’s team is managing today. They were national polling front-runners a few months before voting began, knowing neither Iowa nor New Hampshire were a perfect fit.

It’s not an exact fit. Biden has led the Real Clear Politics national average for all but a minute since he entered the race. Gingrich leapt to the lead in late 2011 after Herman Cain’s (yes, he was ahead for a couple weeks) implosion. Biden leads almost everywhere outside of Iowa and New Hampshire, Giuliani did not.

But they’re still comparable situations. And they’re becoming increasingly relevant. Over the past couple of weeks, Biden has received an ongoing series of positive results in surveys anywhere outside the first two states. He’s holding or even slightly gaining in support, while Elizabeth Warren is either dropping or barely holding. Continue reading “Is Biden the Next Newt or Rudy?”