A new Harvard-Harris national poll has former Vice President Joe Biden running a substantial lead ahead of his closest rivals, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
Democratic voters were asked: “Which of the following candidates are you most likely to vote for in a Democratic primary?”
33% selected Biden, 18% selected Sanders, and 15% selected Warren. No other candidate came close to double digits. 8% were “not sure.”
When independents were added to the Democratic group, the numbers shifted, but the positions remained the same. 25% for Biden, 15% for Sanders, and 12% for Warren. 14% were “not sure.”
When asked about their level of commitment to the candidates they selected, 60% said they “might change” their minds, while 40% said they were “committed” to their choice.
Here’s where things get interesting – the survey asked respondents to choose a candidate if the pool were expanded to include Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg, and John Kerry.
Once these candidates are added to the mix, the race changes dramatically. Biden still leads with 19% of the Democratic vote, but Clinton comes in second with 18%. Warren falls to 13%, and Sanders to 12%.
When independents are added to the pool, the race gets even tighter, with Biden and Clinton tied at 13% each. Warren and Sanders also tie at 10% each.
The idea of Hillary Clinton entering the race at this late stage has been floated by several people. Even Clinton herself has been making the rounds on talk shows and podcasts, calling President Trump “an illegitimate president” on multiple occasions.
After Trump tweeted about Clinton in early-October, the former secretary of state said the following to Judy Woodruff on “PBS NewsHour”:
You know, it truly is remarkable how obsessed he remains with me … maybe there does need to be a rematch. Obviously, I can beat him again. But, just seriously, I don’t understand, I don’t think anybody understands what motivates him.
Speaking recently with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, former Clinton advisor Philippe Reines said: “You know, she ran for president because she thought she would be the best president. If she still thought that now, if she thought she had the best odds of beating Donald Trump – I think she would think about it long and hard.”
When Carlson suggested that Clinton “hasn’t foreclosed the possibility,” Reines replied: “No, she has not.”
On October 22, The New York Times published a piece about Democratic donors wondering about the state of the race:
When a half-dozen Democratic donors gathered at the Whitby Hotel in Manhattan last week, the dinner began with a discussion of which presidential candidates the contributors liked. But as conversations among influential Democrats often go these days, the meeting quickly evolved into a discussion of who was not in the race — but could be lured in.
Would Hillary Clinton get in, the contributors wondered, and how about Michael R. Bloomberg, the former New York mayor? One person even mused whether Michelle Obama would consider a late entry, according to two people who attended the event, which was hosted by the progressive group American Bridge.
At a Georgetown University Law School event on Wednesday, former President Bill Clinton told the crowd: “She may or may not ever run for anything, but I can’t legally run for president again.”
Hillary Clinton may be battered and bruised, having lost to Donald Trump in 2016 and Barack Obama in 2008, but there remains a certain segment of the Democratic electorate that would vote for her regardless. The question remains – will she throw her tattered hat into the ring?