Former Vice President Joe Biden could wrap up the nomination as early as February 11, 2020. That’s the day of the New Hampshire Primary. And unless his opponents catch fire with the public in the Granite State, Biden is looking at a huge win against two main opponents—in their own New England backyard.
TelOpinion Research has released a poll track from late May 2019, showing how Democratic Primary voters feel about their candidates. And the results show that Biden is much loved by New Hampshire voters. If the election was held today, he’d win in a cakewalk.
How Biden Is Blowing Out His Opponents Big Time in New Hampshire
The former Delaware Senator had the support of 33 percent of the voters in the survey, well ahead of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Other candidates, like Pete Buttigieg of Indiana, Kamala Harris of California and Beto O’Rourke of Texas, were in single digits in New Hampshire.
Lest you want to downplay this as a single poll, these results track well with prior polls from Monmouth at the beginning of May (when Biden had 36 percent of the vote compared to 18 percent for Sanders and eight percent for Warren), and the Boston Globe/Suffolk poll, in which Biden had an eight point lead in late April over Sanders and Buttigieg. It seems that Biden has weathered the uncomfortable embracing scandal, along with his ham-handed response.
When you look at demographic groups in this TelOpinion poll, Biden’s got a big lead. That includes ideological distinctions. That’s right… Biden beats Sanders and Warren among the “very liberal” (34 percent-15 percent-15 percent), as well as “somewhat liberal” too, though by a wider margin. Biden wins with all education groups (high school, some college, two-year associates degree, college degree, tech vocation and post-graduate) and all age groups, though the under-30 crowd findings curiously weren’t included in the summary. Biden does better than his opponents among men and women almost equally, among prior primary participants and even the more independent-aligned voters.
When it comes to favorability ratings, Biden easily leads the field with 82 percent (Warren is second with 74 percent) among New Hampshire Democrats. Biden also has pretty low unfavorable ratings. Only California Senator Kamala Harris (nine percent) and Peter Buttigieg (nine percent) have lower unfavorable numbers, while New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has the worst at 31 percent, the only candidate with higher unfavorable-to-favorable numbers among New Hampshire Dems.
What Happens When Biden Takes on the Progressives One at a Time?
Of course, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg and others could blame the crowded field, contending that without Harris and O’Rourke, as well as Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang, Tim Ryan, John Hickenlooper, Tulsi Gabbard, Seth Moulton and Eric Swalwell, the lead would be much narrower, right?
What if Bernie Sanders went “mano a mano” with Joe Biden? What if Elizabeth Warren was toe-to-toe with the ex-vice president? How well would the race go if it came down to just South Bend, Indiana Mayor Buttigieg and Biden, a battle of the B’s?
To see if this is the case, TelOpinion provided survey respondents head-to-head matchups between Biden and his opponents, to tease out that crowded field. And unfortunately for his challengers, Biden wins just as big in these hypothetical contests.
Biden crushes Bernie 66 percent to 22 percent if it’s just the two of them, with 51 percent to 17 percent among those who strongly feel this way. When it comes to Warren, Biden leads 58 percent to 29 percent, with a more than 2:1 advantage among those who are strong supporters, and not just “leaners.” Biden’s lead over Buttigieg is similar to a win over Sanders (63 percent to 21 percent).
A critic on Twitter complained “what is the point of these head-to-head polls?” Well, here’s why they spell especially bad news for Biden’s opponents. Obama’s VP is a former Delaware senator, from the mid-Atlantic. He’s crushing two New England senators who have served their state for years (for Sanders, it is decades) in their own backyard.
Sure, in Iowa with its caucus system that favors committed progressives, Sanders or Warren might have a chance, assuming neither cancels each other out and lets Biden slip in with a narrow win. But the other states, like South Carolina and Nevada, have similar big leads for Biden. When these opponents seek donations and votes from Democrats, what are they going to be able to say when Biden beats them badly in their own neighborhood? Such wins will give Biden such momentum that he may never lose another state. And Biden is already ahead big-time nationally in many polls. At that point, speculation will turn to who the former vice president’s VP pick will be.
How Biden’s Opponents Could Still Win in New Hampshire
To have any hope, the anti-Biden forces need to do the following:
1. Target the undecided. The only good news from this TelOpinion poll shows that 28 percent of voters in the Granite State Primary haven’t made up their minds, though that number gets cut in half in those head-to-head matchups.
2. Focus on better jobs, the environment and protecting pre-existing conditions. Those were the top three issues New Hampshire Democrats focused on in the TelOpinion survey.
3. Abandon South Carolina and Nevada. Split time between Iowa and New Hampshire. Otherwise, this could be over before the second month of the primary season.
John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Georgia—read his full bio here.