Now that Sen. Bernie Sanders has suspended his campaign for the presidency, the path to the Democratic presidential nomination for Joe Biden has cleared one of its few remaining obstacles. But on the same day of such positive news for the Biden campaign, a far more serious blow had already been dealt.
A poll released by POLITICO/Morning Consult on Wednesday revealed a nation with very limited confidence in Joe Biden's ability to lead the nation through a pandemic. The poll showed that the nearly 2,000 respondents also had doubts about President Trump's real-time response to the Wuhan coronavirus but that Biden would be an even worse choice. Poll participants said they would have preferred Trump's predecessor to manage the Wuhan coronavirus response by a fairly large margin but flipped when questioned about the presumptive Democratic nominee.
"When asked who would be a better leader during the outbreak, 52 percent of voters said Obama would be better during the crisis, compared with 38 percent who said Trump would be the stronger of the two leaders. Ten percent did not have an opinion.
By an 8-point margin, more voters picked Trump (44 percent) as a better leader during the crisis than Biden (36 percent), though voters were split evenly in the survey when asked whom they would trust to handle the issue."
Though former President Obama has largely been silent during the viral pandemic, he made headlines last week by insisting climate change was a global crisis on par with the Wuhan coronavirus. Both Obama and former Vice President Biden have been the subject of criticism for the administration's response to the outbreak of SARS, H1N1, and Ebola in recent years. Biden has, nevertheless, campaigned as a crisis leader with experience in responding to disease crises.
Biden has remained largely critical of Trump's response to the handling of the Wuhan coronavirus, but the president revealed that he and Biden had a very amicable and friendly phone call about the pandemic earlier this week. Though Trump has consistently sniped at Biden in his bid for the White House, giving him the moniker "Sleepy Joe," the president and his Democratic contender have remained largely cordial since the phone call.
Even with Sanders out of the race, the Biden campaign is fighting an uphill battle while seeking to invigorate voters for the November general election. Aside from the revelation that voters do not believe he would be a better crisis president than the incumbent, faith in Trump and approval of his overall job execution have been on the rise throughout the crisis. While the president and his task force give daily, nearly two-hour press briefings that attract upwards of eight million viewers, Biden has been relegated to a studio in his basement home where he does weekly podcasts and sporadic, remote television interviews. Even Biden admitted this was less than ideal for his campaign.
"You can't compete with a president," Biden said this weekend of Trump's coverage during the pandemic. "That's the ultimate bully pulpit ... I'd much prefer to be out there shaking hands, looking at people." Biden also addressed the multitude of technical difficulties that have beset his home-studio messages to voters.
"I'm the same guy that, when something happens on my cellphone, I turn to one of my granddaughters and say, 'Can you help me out here?'"