In the age of the coronavirus, President Trump is getting 90 minutes of airtime every day. But his expected 2020 rival, Joe Biden, has become irrelevant — so much so that he took to holding his own coronavirus briefings from his home in Delaware.
And that word — irrelevant — has been popping up a lot lately.
“Biden, Seen as ‘Irrelevant’ in Coronavirus Crisis, Calls for Nationwide Lockdown,” PJ Media wrote on Saturday. “Joe Biden appeared at a CNN townhall to talk about the coronavirus pandemic and nobody cared,” the outlet wrote.
Said the New York Post: “Democrats fret as Joe Biden becomes ‘irrelevant’ in coronavirus crisis.”
“Just days after his commanding primary victories in Florida, Arizona and Illinois, the coronavirus has turned former Vice President Joe Biden into a virtual prisoner of his Delaware home, where he’s reduced to sniping at President Trump from the family rec room,” the Post wrote.
But a new poll by Fox News finds that Americans are still looking at Biden as a potential president.
Biden beats Trump by 9 percentage points in a head-to-head ballot test, the telephone survey conducted March 21-24 found. The tally: Biden 49%, Trump 40%, with the other 11% saying they would vote for someone else or are undecided.
The poll also had some interesting data on possible running mates for Biden. If he chooses Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), the pair Trump and Vice President Mike Pence 50-42. The number is the same if he picks Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).
The margin is bigger, though, if he picks Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) — 52-42. And 63% of those surveyed approve of his pledge to pick a woman as his running mate.
Biden holds an edge over voters who are “extremely interested” in the election, beating Trump 52% to 43%. He also holds a healthy 48% to 40% edge in battleground states, the Fox News poll found.
Meanwhile, a Washington Post-ABC News poll released on Sunday showed the race a bit tighter, with Biden ahead 49% to Trump’s 47%. among registered voters. But the poll found among all adults, Biden leads Trump 50-44.
Registered voters also said they “trust” Trump more than Biden — 47-43 — to handle the coronavirus pandemic. And on the economy, registered voters picked Trump 52% to 42%.
But the poll also found a decided lack of enthusiasm among Democrats.
“Former Vice President Joe Biden has emerged as Democrats’ top choice for the presidential nomination in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, but with only bare majority support within his party and a massive enthusiasm gap in a November matchup against President Donald Trump,” ABC wrote.
“Indeed, strong enthusiasm for Biden among his supporters – at just 24% – is the lowest on record for a Democratic presidential candidate in 20 years of ABC/Post polls. More than twice as many of Trump’s supporters are highly enthusiastic about supporting him, 53%.”
Perhaps the Democrats’ biggest risk is under the surface, in Trump’s big advantage in backers who are “very” enthusiastic about supporting him. Strong enthusiasm for a candidate can help boost turnout on Election Day, a must-have particularly for Democrats, who rely more on motivating less-frequent voters to come to the polls.
While trailing Trump by 29 points in high-level enthusiasm, Biden makes up some of the difference with those who are “somewhat” enthusiastic. But he still trails Trump by 12 points in the combined measure, 74 vs. 86%.
There’s déjà vu in these results: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton found herself in largely the same position four years ago. She, too, had a slim lead among Democrats for the nomination and ran essentially evenly with Trump among registered voters. And she lagged in enthusiasm, with a low of 32% very enthusiastic in September 2016. Biden is 8 points under that mark now.