The B|E Note’s regular polling assessment of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary field deliberately laid low for two weeks for two reasons: 1) We wanted to slow it down and take a good look at how the very influential Black electorate was perceiving presumed front-runner Joe Biden in the wake of recent racial gaffes; and 2) it didn’t make much sense to burn cycles on an assessment right before the first round of official debates, as well as a day after. One thing is kind of certain: the debates may not have altered this crowded field dramatically, but it certainly put it into sharper focus. The debates may have done more to help attentive primary voters to place more confidence in candidates they already liked than force them into switching support. Either way, Biden suffered the most as a result …
That’s also chopped up, considerably, his Black voter support according to a Reuters-Ipsos poll just out …
Support for Biden among blacks, a critical Democratic voting bloc, was cut in half, with about two out of 10 saying they backed President Barack Obama’s former vice president, compared with four out of 10 in the June poll.
The universally accepted lackluster performance of Biden may have, simply, solidified the electorate’s original views of him - even if they’ve believed for some time that he was the most electable and based support only on that metric. Hence, Kamala Harris didn’t just have a great debate moment that’s offered her new drive at the moment since there were voters already there and just waiting on her to do what they assumed, from her resume, she could do. Electability is still very much a key factor, Democratic voters definitely want the person who can beat Trump. When looking at it from that perspective, one has to ask if this has really turned into a Biden v. Harris bout. But, there is significant doubt around whether that’s Biden, in addition to many - including Black voters - who aren’t even all that sure Harris is the one. We also see a field that’s also more shaped by the preferences of enthusiastic partisan champions and insiders - see FiveThirtyEight’s endorsement tracker below as a hint - than it is by voters.
Morning Consult (June 27-28)
RealClearPolitics (June 27 - July 2)
FiveThirtyEight (June 27 - July 2)
FiveThirtyEight Endorsements (as of July 3)
Electoral College (Consensus Avg.)
Democrats = 230 v. Republicans = 209
YouGov pre-debate (June 22 - June 25)
Quinnipiac (July 2)
Dem primary field …
… & Electability vs. Trump
Washington Post/ABC (June 28 - July 1)
This week’s average: 43.15% (-0.1)
Previous week’s average: 43.25%
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