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Elizabeth Warren’s polling surge is over, was just a blip on the Democratic Primary radar

Elizabeth Warren’s polling surge is over, was just a blip on the Democratic Primary radar

Warren has perfected the politics of envy, which should sell well among Democrats. But so far, Democrats are buying the superficial soundbites of Joe Biden and the socialism of Bernie Sanders.

I’m so old, I remember when Elizabeth Warren was surging in the polls, breaking out of the lower-tier single-digit pack.

In late April, a Quinnipiac poll showed Warren surging to 12 points, a point ahead of Bernie, two points ahead of Mayor Pete, and four points ahead of Kamala Harris.

The Q poll didn’t make any sense. Why a sudden break-out from Warren’s languishing poll numbers, which had been horrible even in Massachusetts?

Dave Weigel at The Washington Post, who has followed Warren’s various campaigns closely for many years and seems to have good connections there, noted that Warren’s campaign team was waiting for her to break out of the pack as the ideas candidate:

Every presidential campaign that is not topping the polls — i.e., every one but Biden’s or Sanders’s — has the same theory of how it will break out. For every primary won by the early front-runner (Republicans in 2012, Democrats in 2016), there is one where a candidate who’s been counted out grinds away and watches front-runners or flavor-of-the-month candidates fizzle (Democrats in 2004, Republicans in 2008).

Warrenworld sees a race that has not changed much since January, except for the surprise popularity of South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and two setbacks that they pulled past quickly….

But the Warren plan was always to launch early and then roll out policies to focus each leg of the campaign. “I have a plan” has become one of her handiest applause lines….

At each of the past week’s cattle calls, Warren got one big political moment — a riff on why women should not be worried about her losing the general election, because everyone counted her out in her 2012 Senate bid — and spent the rest of her time talking through her policies….

When she’s on the stump, each of her plans rolls together in an argument about “structural change” that could actually be achieved by an ambitious president.

Plenty of candidates have put out white papers, waited for the praise to come and walked away defeated. The difference with Warren is best visible on the trail, where she jokes about and personalizes the threats and solutions.

Weigel was not alone in noting the Warren plan to breakthrough the noise as the plans candidate. The Boston Globe touted the surge as a sign that Warren’s campaign finally was gaining momentum:

The senator from Massachusetts had a slow start in the Democratic presidential race, struggling with lackluster fund-raising and middling polls in the first few months of her campaign while watching rivals such as Beto O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg each take a moment in the sun with bursts of support and surging contributions.

But now, there are early signs Warren’s relentless focus on policy detail and diligent face time with voters may be leading to a boost of her own, one that could help her break into the top tier of candidates that has been dominated by white men in early polls….

In a field of 21 candidates, with 10 months to go before the Iowa caucuses, the race seems likely to shape-shift numerous times before Democrats decide on their nominee. But Warren’s gains in the polls — even if they are slight — signal an uptick in her momentum from a couple of months ago, when she was battling questions about whether her widely criticized decision to release a DNA test to address her claims of Native American heritage made her too controversial to get elected….

Warren’s focus on policy, far from being seen as too wonky or remote, is becoming her calling card in a crowded field — and the words “I’ve got a plan” have become an applause line on the stump.

Warren as the “ideas” or “plan” candidate was a transparent campaign strategy to keep herself in the news cycles.  I wrote about this on April 5, 2019, before her Q Poll surge, Elizabeth Warren’s increasingly dramatic proposals reflect a campaign struggling to stay relevant:

As Warren’s campaign has stalled, she shifted from trying to be the cool kid to being a policy wonk as a campaign theme. Hardly a day passes that she doesn’t roll out some huge proposal to reshape the economy in her image, or to take vengeance on the enemy….

These proposals have kept Warren in the short-term news cycles without any obvious positive impact on her popularity or fundraising. Warren is approaching the point where even the sympathetic liberal and mainstream media will grow weary.

What is left for Warren to propose? Public flogging of executives?

If her fundraising numbers come in weak, she may have to go there to keep in the news cycle.

Now that there is more polling data, it appears that Warren’s surge was more of a blip. The Q Poll was an outlier. Morning Consult just released a poll showing Biden soaring, Bernie firmly in second place, and Warren with the rest of the pack back in single digits. Warren is the leader of the single digits crowd, but not by any statistically significant amount:

Among early state voters, however, Warren drops into the middle of the pack

The Real Clear Politics polling compilation and average tell the story of Warren’s momentary blip:

There is someone surging according to the Morning Consult poll, and it’s “Sleepy” (and “Creepy”) Uncle Joe Biden:

I’m not counting Elizabeth Warren out. She has an unnatural ability to keep plugging away, driven by a need to demonize anyone who opposes her. It may be that she’ll hang on long enough for Biden to fade and Bernie to burn, and will be the last candidate standing. But so far, there’s no evidence to suggest that will be the result.

Warren’s a candidate who has perfected the politics of envy, which should sell well among Democrats. But so far, Democrats aren’t buying what Warren is selling.


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But I’m still stuck with this fraud and crackpot as my Senator.

    casualobserver in reply to MAJack. | May 7, 2019 at 11:42 am

    She seems brighter than Markey – which means brighter than a rock. But both of them have really, really bad politic instincts. Not to mention really bad policy ideas.

    I thought Markey had just a little sense. But the way he glommed onto AOC’s Green New Deal so quickly proved to me he’s even more dumb than I originally thought. But it’s weird. Heavily Dem states don’t seem to be able to produce very good GOP candidates either. It’s almost like the moderately smart or sane ones decide quite early, “why bother?” For the Bay State only GOP governors seem to work out. Most other positions are just as quirky and aggravating as guys like Markey.

      uppitymofo in reply to casualobserver. | May 7, 2019 at 3:58 pm

      give the freebies to the uppers and the lowers and everyone is happy

      EXCEPT the middle class

      the middle class is working while the poor have the time to make noise and get on tv and social media and raise h311

      fear is the punch they use and it works

    Massinsanity in reply to MAJack. | May 7, 2019 at 5:13 pm

    Looking at the MA senatorial landscape:

    Markey is just plain dumb. He is dumber that Ted Kennedy which is really, really hard to believe.

    Warren is conniving. She will do or say anything in an attempt to remain relevant. Very similar to John Kerry.

“I’m so old, I remember when Elizabeth Warren was surging in the polls, breaking out of the lower-tier single-digit pack.”

I’m so old, I remember when Elizabeth Warren was an Indian, surging in the tenure track, breaking out of the lower-tier white-privilege pack.

healthguyfsu | May 7, 2019 at 12:00 pm

The Dems will seek to elect Biden or Bernie then blame male white privilege whether they win or lose.

The identity playbook is becoming obvious.

    Massinsanity in reply to healthguyfsu. | May 7, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    If the latest polls are accurate almost all of Biden’s surge is at the expense of Sanders showing that Sanders “core” is much smaller than he thinks.

    I just don’t believe Biden has the intellect and endurance to see this through at this point.

    Nice to see that Mayor Pete’s trashing Mike Pence show isn’t resonating.

It must be humiliating being an also ran in a field of imbeciles.

I wonder if its occurred to Klobuchar just how out of touch her Minnesota voters actually are.

Warren is as fake as “”””Beto”””””” and Biden etc etc

Is that toast I smell?

Shrieking Crow is much like Sanders, always hectoring, shouting, filled with anger and has a totalitarian streak. A dangerous loon.

Massinsanity | May 7, 2019 at 5:21 pm

I have to laugh at the characterization of Warren as the “ideas” candidate. Just how hard is it to come up with various plans to given people s*&^ paid for by others? Taxpayer funded:

– Student loan bailout
– College tuition (at government schools for now)
– Child care
– Healthcare
– Reparations
– Green New Deal goodies

etc, etc.

In saner times these “ideas” would simply be laughed off as silly but not in today’s freak show that is the Democrat primary field and Democrat run media complex.

uppitymofo | May 7, 2019 at 9:58 pm

not going to donate to a site that wont allow my legit posts

If you keep up about the Pocohantas fraud you will get an arrow in your bactk. Re Biden–his poll numbers show how desperate the demonuts are. He was prematurely senile–and now he is simply acting his age.

Mark Michael | May 8, 2019 at 4:57 pm

I’m guessing enough of the Dem primary voters will think ahead to the general election and realize that if Sen. Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren is their standard barer Pres. Trump will make fun of her mercilessly. One can’t forget her DNA test, her Texas ABA card in which she listed her ancestry as “American Indian”. It was plainly in her own handwriting.

I’m trusting that’s she’s toast. It’s just a matter of when she herself realizes that, and decides to spend her time doing something else…(I could suggest something: Move back to Oklahoma and buy a Teepee…)