President Trump’s relentless attacks on Joe Biden over the Ukraine issue have proven damaging to his campaign.
Polling gurus like FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver have been quick to point out in recent weeks that former Vice President Joe “Biden’s numbers haven’t declined at all” since the Trump/Zelensky phone call story first broke.
But new state and national polls released this week show the cracks in Biden’s support wall are now causing the wall to crumble.
A national poll done by Suffolk University and USA Today shows Biden’s lead over Warren has been “slashed in half:”
Former Vice President Joe Biden continues to lead a turbulent field for the Democratic presidential nomination, a national USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll finds, but his margin over Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been slashed in half. And most Democratic voters say they could still change their minds.
Almost exactly one year before Election Day – and 96 days before the opening Iowa caucuses – Biden was backed by 26% of likely Democratic primary and caucus voters in the survey. Warren was second at 17%, followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 13% and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 10%.
Biden’s lead over Warren, now 9 percentage points, was 18 points in the last USA TODAY/Suffolk Poll, taken in late August. His standing has fallen by 6 points since then; hers has risen by 3.
Another national poll released this week indicates Trump has gained ground on Biden:
In the Morning Consult-Politico poll, Biden’s lead over Trump slipped to 11 points, down from 20 points in the same poll from last month.
The poll shows a growing strength for the president in a match-up against Biden, currently the Democratic 2020 front-runner, as Trump previously trailed Biden by as much as 28 points in a Morning Consult-Politico poll in June.
In particular, his lead nationally among independents has all but disappeared, evaporating from an 11-point lead among the group of voters in June to just a 1-point lead today.
In New Hampshire, Biden has fallen to third place behind Sanders and Warren:
DURHAM, N.H. — Former Vice President Joe Biden suffered a precipitous drop in the latest New Hampshire poll, falling to the lowest point his campaign has seen this cycle, while Sen. Bernie Sanders recaptured his first-place spot narrowly over Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Sanders (I-Vt.) was the first choice of 21 percent of likely Democratic primary voters, followed by Warren (D-Mass.) at 18 percent, Biden at 15 percent and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 10 percent, according to the Granite State Poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire and co-sponsored by CNN.
Biden has lost 9 points since the previous UNH poll, conducted in July. In that survey, Biden had a slight advantage over Sanders and Warren, who were tied for second place with 19 percent each.
So what’s happened to the Biden campaign? As I wrote earlier this month, Biden has simply lost control of the narrative. He hasn’t performed well at any of the debates along with his penchant for gaffes and flubs. These issues have popped up repeatedly during the course of his campaign, which has led people to question his health and whether or not Biden has the stamina at his age to go the distance in a presidential campaign.
It’s also undeniable that Trump’s relentless attacks on Biden over the Ukraine issue have hurt him politically, with donors demanding Biden take on Trump more forcefully. As reported by The Hill a few weeks ago:
Donors complain that a string of verbal gaffes and inconsistent debate performances have contributed to a sense of worry about the strength of his candidacy.
There is also some dissatisfaction with how the Biden camp has responded to a new series of attacks from President Trump, who has seen his own calls for Ukraine to investigate the former vice president turn into the impetus for an impeachment inquiry in the House.
“Look, let’s be honest. He’s a weak front-runner,” one major donor said.
“A lot of us are really concerned,” another Democratic bundler said. “We think Biden is the strongest out of the lot, but he hasn’t exactly shown that he can play the part yet.”
These big-money donor concerns have led to a serious cash-flow problem for the Biden campaign, a very unusual problem for a frontrunner campaign to have. This is a big reason why he’s reversed his position on super PACs.
Is it close to being over for the Biden campaign at this stage? No. While Trump, Warren, and Sanders have all gained ground on him, he’s still technically the frontrunner with a lot of support.
But considering the slow but steady erosion in that support over the last several months, Biden needs to right the ship before the caucuses and primaries start in February. If not, he’s in for a brutally rude awakening once the results from those contests start to come in.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
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