Former Vice President Joe Biden dispelled rumors that he might lose popularity once he became an official contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, pulling far ahead in the fist poll of a Biden-inclusive field, besting the next top candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), by more than 20 points.
A CNN poll released Tuesday morning shows Biden with a commanding lead over the field, jumping 11 points from his previous position to 39% support among likely Democratic primary voters. Sanders, who was in the low 20s in the last poll, fell to 15%.
No other candidate cracked the double digits — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), the next top vote-getter, received a miserable 8%, followed by South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg with 7% — giving Biden an easy 30-point lead over most of the field.
A second poll, from Morning Consult, shows Biden with a 6 point bounce from when he made his official announcement last week, putting him a comfortable 14 points ahead of Bernie Sanders, 36-22, and, again, well ahead of the rest of the field.
Biden is even currently leading in early primary states like New Hampshire, which should be a lock for Bernie Sanders, who swept the state in his last primary race, beating then-competitor Hillary Clinton in every New Hampshire county.
This is all good news for Joe Biden, of course, though, as a new candidate, he’s entitled to an increase in support tied to enthusiasm over his decision to run. The real test will be whether Biden can keep up his commanding lead over Sanders into the summer, or whether Biden is just today’s “hot news,” soon to be replaced by a more exciting presence in the race. At least a third of the voters polled said they haven’t yet maid up their minds on which 2020 Democratic candidate to support, and many believe that they will change their decision before their scheduled primary — and the first scheduled primary isn’t until early 2020.
Perhaps more interesting than Biden’s numbers overall are his numbers in the poll’s demographic breakdown segment. The common line has been that Biden, an older white male, will have no pull among minority and female voters who have become accustomed to the Democrats’ identity politics, and that far-left progressive voters will ultimately dictate which Democratic candidate will go up against Trump in 2020.
But Joe Biden’s appeal seems to cut across demographics, defying expectations.
Biden’s lead extends across most every major demographic or political group, though it shrinks some among younger voters (31% Biden to 19% Sanders among those under age 45), liberals (32% Biden to 19% Sanders) and whites (29% Biden to 15% Sanders among white voters).
Biden has a strong lead among African-American women, and bests Sanders across the board with minority voters. And although Sanders is widely considered to be the “socialist of choice” for Millennial votes, Biden has a ten-point lead there, too (it probably helps that Sanders has lost some of his market-share to up-and-coming candidates like Buttigieg and former Texas Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke).