Multiple New Polls: Rumors of Biden's Collapse Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Posted: Aug 28, 2019 1:05 PM

In the dog days of August, it's understandable why many in the media would eagerly jump all over a single, juicy poll that points to a seismic shift in the presidential race.  The news has been relatively slow, the plodding frontrunner-ism of Joe Biden has been a bit boring, and the sudden rise of hard-Left candidates is both a dramatic storyline -- and a bit ideologically exciting to many journalists.  And thus, a coverage boomlet over this week's Monmouth survey was born.  We wrote about it here, noting the tiny sample size and wondering if Monmouth's numbers were part of a trend, or an "aberrant outlier."  A bevy of subsequent polls have rendered a clear verdict on that question:

Biden's sitting at 33, 31, and 32 percent, respectively, with leads over his closest competitors (Sanders in two cases, Warren in one) sitting at 13, 7 and 18 percentage points.  Two additional new surveys show Biden at 20 percent and up 13 points (Hill/HarrisX), and at 32 percent and up 13 points (Quinnipiac).  That all seems...really stable.  Just as Biden claims he's not "going nuts," perhaps the same can be said of 2020 Democratic polling.  Monmouth's findings are such a glaring outlier that the organization's polling director felt compelled to issue a statement

One storyline that I find especially interesting is the coming Biden vs. Warren fracas.  She is drawing large crowds as she steadily builds support, and has much of the elite press behind her.  She's also on a collision course with the frontrunner, whom she hasn't yet met on a debate stage.  We know that her knocks on Biden will be that he's not progressive or "bold" enough, and that he won't "fight" like she will.  Meanwhile, here's a preview of one of Team Biden's more potent arguments about her:

This isn't really an attack, but more of an analysis that highlights a glaring weakness in Warren's apparent ability to piece together a victory coalition.  She is undoubtedly able to generate great excitement among white leftists, including many journalists, but her standing among people of color -- a crucial constituency -- isn't Mayor Pete bad, but it's not great.  Notice that this isn't a policy critique, a contrast over ideas, or a character/temperament hit; it's yet another electability argument.  That's fine as far as it goes, but some of this stuff seems to be pretty circular.  As I said on Fox News, what happens if "electability" perceptions change?  What would Biden be left with? Feeling pretty good about that initial admonition about individual polls vs. averages today:

Finally, on that same score, I'm seeing a lot of giddy chatter today about the new Q-poll, which is terrible for President Trump.  His support is low, he's getting crushed in head-to-heads, hand e's upside-down on even the economy (ahem).  I'll just say this: It's one single poll, from a pollster that has consistently produced unusually ugly (and sometimes hilariously wrong) data for Trump and the GOP in recent cycles.  It seems as though some people may be determined to make the exact same mistake as they did on the Monmouth/Biden outlier -- except this time, it's especially irresistible because the bad news is for Trump.  As the national press chases polls, I'll leave you with some Democratic operatives freaking out about getting clobbered on the ground in key states by the Trump campaign:

“There’s a general unease right now among operatives and others who believe the DNC is not doing enough to build out the infrastructure before the next election,” one DNC member said, who requested to speak anonymously about internal party conversations. “There’s a deep concern that while we’re turned inwards, the Trump campaign is already out there talking to general election voters.” ... "Donald Trump is in general election mode while we’re still in primary mode. We see it in Ohio,” David Pepper, who chairs the state’s Democratic Party said. “He’s absolutely carpet-bombing Ohio online. We’re doing our best to respond.”

Interesting, but say it with me: It's very, very early.

UPDATE -- Sorry, Tom.  Think of all the money you wasted to likely not make the debate stage: