There’s nearly a year to go before the first Democrats go out to cast their ballots in the 2020 primaries, but a new poll from The Hill and HarrisX indicates that the conclusion might be a little more foregone than some of the contenders would like to think. With Joe Biden’s official entry into the field last week, he zoomed past the rest of the overcrowded field to take a commanding 32-point lead on his next-closest challenger, the Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders.
From The Hill:
Biden won 46 percent in the poll compared to 14 percent for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who came in a distant second place.
Former South Bend, Ind. mayor Pete Buttigieg was in third place with 8 percent, followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) with 7 percent.
Polls taken since the former vice president’s official declaration have shown him receiving support in the upper 30s to lower 40s, about twice as much as Sanders, his next closest rival.
The poll was taken Friday and Saturday among 440 registered voters who identified as Democrats or independents who leaned toward the party.
California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris was fourth with 6 percent, followed by former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) with 3 percent each.
The Hill reports that the rest of the field, which includes everyone from podcast entrepreneur Andrew Yang to spiritualist Marianne Williamson, is drowning in the sub-two percent numbers. Early polling shows that possibly-to-declare candidate Bill de Blasio would enter the race with a formidable 0% base of support.
While the numbers look exceptionally good for Biden, a Republican strategist named Conor Maguire made an excellent point about how quickly things can change.
“This is a long, long primary,” Maguire said. “At this point, Trump hadn’t even made his ride down the escalator yet, so there’s going to be a lot of things that are going to change and we’re going to see how they move.”
Concerned that Biden could swallow most of the coverage and run away with the nomination before the race has fairly even begun, Sanders told ABC News this week that for whatever the former vice president was, he wasn’t much of a progressive.
“I think if you look at Joe’s record, and you look at my record, I don’t think there’s much question about who’s more progressive,” he said. “Joe voted for the war in Iraq, I led the effort against it. Joe voted for NAFTA and permanent trade relations, trade agreements with China. I led the effort against that. Joe voted for the deregulation of Wall Street, I voted against that.”
As happened in the 2016 primaries, this year’s contest will no doubt become a split primary as leftists flock to Sanders and Warren while moderates flock to Biden. But in a race with 21+ candidates, and a progressive activist base willing to go to extraordinary lengths to drive the Democrats to the extremes, anything could happen.
The winner, whomever it may be, may be left with little prize other than losing – badly – to President Trump.