Tuesday, July 30, 2019

After Trump, America Needs a Nap; Polls Show "Sleepy Joe" Recovered From June Debate Performance

Joe Biden
A few months ago, President Donald Trump coined the nickname "Sleepy Joe" for Joe Biden.  Trump meant it as an insult, that the former Vice President could not match the frenetic, constant news-making that has been the hallmark of the Trump administration.  Meanwhile, Biden's Democratic opponents for President make a similar, albeit more polite, claim.  They advocate for polices that greatly expand the size and role of government.  They argue the 76 year old Biden can't provide the energetic change voters want.

And they would be wrong.  Americans aren't clamoring for new expansive government programs that takes the country closer to socialism.  Americans aren't looking for an energetic leader who leads an administration that is constantly in action, or in Trump's case, turmoil.  Instead Americans are looking for solitude, peace and quiet, a return to normalcy, decency and civility. Not only has the time for Biden to be President not passed him by, this may well be the perfect time for his brand of politics.  After Trump, America needs a nap.

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The polls, even among Democratic partisans, seem to confirm that.  Following July's debate, Biden's poll numbers slipped while California Sen. Kamala Harris, who attacked Biden over his opposition to forced busing (not sure when busing became popular even among "progressives"), gained traction.  A month later, the numbers have reverted to their pre-debate status.  Three polls released today (Emerson, Politico/Morning Consult, The Hill/Harris X) have Biden at 33, 33 and 34 respectively.   Quinnipiac's poll, released yesterday, has Biden at 34.

But Biden's numbers are not the only ones that reverted to the previous norm.  Let's look at the result for the second tier candidates in the Emerson, Politico/Morning Consult, The Hill/Harris X, and Quinnipiac polls:

Sanders: 20, 18, 20, 11
Warren: 14, 13, 12, 15
Harris:  11, 12, 9, 12

Political commentators continue to peddle the narrative that support for Sen. Elizabeth Warren is growing.  The polls just do not show that.  Warren's poll numbers are stagnant and have even dipped some in July.  Harris, meanwhile, is once again struggling to hit double figures.

Although Sen. Bernie Sanders' political obituary has been written by those numerous analysts touting Warren, the fact remains that Sanders remains a modest few points ahead of Warren in virtually every poll.  The good news for Sanders is that he is fending off the challenge from Warren.  The bad news is he appears to have a solid ceiling on his support even among hard core Democratic partisans. 

The nature of news coverage is to promote conflict and to make political races seem more competitive than they actually are.  No doubt the coverage from this week' debate will feature prominently at least one "break out candidate" (remember how Julian Castro was crowned a debate "winner" and new star; his 1% in numerous polls say otherwise), as well as perceived debate winners and losers.  And polls may, briefly, show movement from the debate.  I'm just not convinced there will be a significant long-term change in the polls from this week's debate. 

Bottom line is the Democratic electorate wants to nominate the most electable Democrat and that person is "Sleepy Joe" Biden.

1 comment:

Patrick Gaffney said...

My take- The progressives in the party will keep pushing for Harris or Bernie, but there are going to be a lot of people who normally vote Republican voting Democratic in this primary, especially with no one running against Trump. And Joe will be the much more attractive to those that lean Republican then many others in that party