Bi­den falls in poll; War­ren, San­ders gain

The Morning Call - - OBITUARIES / NATION & WORLD - By Michael Scherer

WASH­ING­TON — For­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den lost ground this sum­mer to two of his more lib­eral chal­lengers, Sens. El­iz­a­beth War­ren and Bernie San­ders, ac­cord­ing to a na­tional Demo­cratic primary poll from Mon­mouth Univer­sity re­leased Mon­day.

The mid-Au­gust poll found a vir­tual three-way tie be­tween the top can­di­dates. Bi­den’s sup­port among Demo­cratic vot­ers for the party’s nom­i­na­tion fell to 19% from 32% in June, while sup­port for War­ren, D-Mass., and San­ders, I-Vt., each rose slightly to 20%, from 15% and 14%, re­spec­tively.

The poll comes a week af­ter Bi­den re­leased a tele­vi­sion ad that cited re­cent polling to boast of his own electabil­ity against Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. “All the polls agree Joe Bi­den is the strong­est Demo­crat to do the job,” the ad’s nar­ra­tor de­clared, cit­ing re­cent hy­po­thet­i­cal matchup polls be­tween Bi­den and Trump.

The Mon­mouth poll is the first ma­jor na­tional sur­vey to show Bi­den with­out at least a slight edge in primary pref­er­ence. The sur­vey found his sup­port fell broadly across de­mo­graphic groups, among lib­er­als, mod­er­ates, white and non­white vot­ers.

“The main take­away from this poll is that the Demo­cratic race has be­come volatile,” said Pa­trick Murray, di­rec­tor of the in­de­pen­dent Mon­mouth Univer­sity Polling In­sti­tute. “Lib­eral vot­ers are start­ing to cast about for a can­di­date they can iden­tify with. Mod­er­ate vot­ers, who have been pay­ing less at­ten­tion, seem to be ex­press­ing doubts about Bi­den.”

The share of Demo­cratic vot­ers who have a fa­vor­able view of Bi­den has also steadily de­clined. His net fa­vor­a­bil­ity mar­gin — the share of vot­ers who have a fa­vor­able view of him mi­nus those who have an un­fa­vor­able view of him — fell to 41 in Au­gust from 57 in May and 71 in Jan­uary.

At the same time, the net fa­vor­a­bil­ity mar­gin for War­ren rose to 52 in Au­gust from 46 in May and 40 in Jan­uary. San­ders sup­port has been more steady, 40 in Au­gust, dip­ping from 44 in May and 49 in Jan­uary.

The Mon­mouth poll con­trasts with other na­tional sur­veys this month show­ing Bi­den hold­ing a steady ad­van­tage. A CNN poll re­leased last week found 29% of Demo­cratic-lean­ing vot­ers sup­ported Bi­den, com­pared with 15% for San­ders and 14% for War­ren.

The Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee has rec­og­nized the Mon­mouth sur­vey as a qual­i­fy­ing poll for the next two de­bates, but the re­sults re­leased Mon­day had no ef­fect on who will make the Septem­ber de­bates. Au­thor Mar­i­anne Wil­liamson was the only can­di­date who has not qual­i­fied for that event to score 2% or more. She needs three more polls at 2% or higher by Wed­nes­day to qual­ify.

Tom Steyer needs one more poll, Rep. Tulsi Gab­bard, DHawaii, needs two more polls and Sen. Kirstin Gil­li­brand, DN.Y., needs three more polls.

The poll, con­ducted be­tween Aug. 16 and 20 by tele­phone, sur­veyed a sam­ple of 298 reg­is­tered vot­ers who iden­tify as Democrats or lean to­ward the Demo­cratic Party. It had a mar­gin of er­ror of plus or mi­nus 5.7 per­cent­age points.


For­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den has slipped in a na­tional poll to a vir­tual tie with Sen. Bernie San­ders and Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren.

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