June 13, 2019

Latest Polling and Dems 2020 Update

On Tuesday, Quinnipiac released a poll in which “several Democratic challengers lead President Donald Trump, with former Vice President Joseph Biden ahead 53 - 40 percent.” Quinnipiac

Last Thursday, Democratic candidate Joe Biden “declared that he no longer supports a long-standing congressional ban on using federal health care money to pay for abortions.” This came days after his campaign had indicated he supported the ban. AP News

On Monday, “Biden told lobbyists and donors at a fundraiser… that Republicans in Congress ‘know better’ than to align with President Donald Trump and declared that Wall Street bankers ‘can be positive influences in the country.’” Wall Street Window

On Tuesday, Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg gave a speech on foreign policy. C-SPAN

See past issues

From the Left

The left is encouraged by the polling, continues to be critical of Biden, and offers thoughts on Buttigieg’s speech.

“Especially bleak is the fact that Trump’s approval rating is more than a dozen points underwater in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Iowa — all states he won in 2016. Of course, a lot can change between now and November of next year. And in fairness to Trump, it is true that state-level polls underestimated his support in 2016…  It’s undeniable, however, that the 2020 polling, taken in its totality, doesn’t look good for Trump right now.”
Aaron Rupar, Vox

“The head-to-head polling doesn’t really tell us much about events 18 months in the future, but it does tell us there’s no counterintuitive process whereby Trump secures the votes of tons of people who say he’s doing a bad job as president… The public is mostly saying they want to vote for any Democrat, and the strongest pattern so far indicates better-known Democrats do better than the more obscure ones… Rather than being either complacent or paralyzed by fear, Democrats should probably take a modest amount of reassurance from Trump’s bad polls and try worrying about everything else for a minute.”
Matthew Yglesias, Vox

Many argue that, “Biden is wrong to imply that if only Trump is gone, Republicans in Congress will immediately negotiate with a Democratic president in good faith. In fact, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) brags that he will continue to be the ‘grim reaper’ and destroy any legislation from a Democratic president, while promising to further pack the Supreme Court if a vacancy arises during an election year… Biden and Democratic candidates for the presidency, House and Senate should run against the hugely unpopular ‘grim reaper’ McConnell and the Trump Republicans in Washington.”
Brent Budowsky, The Hill

“Does Biden believe in his own powers of persuasion? Or is he attempting to woo prized Obama-to-Trump voters, not to mention upscale white suburbanites reported to be appalled by Trump’s behavior?... But there’s another crowd this stuff appeals to as well, a group that would rather not discuss the economic issues that contributed to Trump’s victory. That would be the donor class of the Democratic Party…

“There’s lots of evidence to suggest that Biden really does think he brings unique skills at bipartisanship to the presidential table. He did make deals with the Republicans aplenty in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. But they were deals like the Hyde Amendment and bankruptcy ‘reform’ that made life harder for people in financial trouble or struggling with student debt, though not for the wealthiest. If members of the Democratic donor class are putting their faith in Biden, it’s hard to blame them. The real question is whether voters will continue to support Biden as it becomes clearer and clearer that his promise of bipartisanship is simply another, more politically palatable way of saying that the rich will continue to come first.”
Helaine Olen, Washington Post

Regarding Buttigieg’s speech, some argue, “He is an heir to Obama’s cautious and intellectual worldview—except that while Obama was, at heart, a realist influenced by the writings of Reinhold Niebuhr and the actions of Brent Scowcroft, Buttigieg is more motivated by values. Buttigieg is, at heart, a liberal internationalist who is looking beyond interventions to challenges posed by great powers, bridging the gap between the Obama and Clinton wings of his party. He fears that, left untended, threats to liberty abroad will ultimately threaten liberty at home. Buttigieg still has a lot of work to do to unpack what this means, but if he sticks to it and is bolder than he was on Tuesday, he may be able to articulate the alternative he promised.”
Thomas Wright, The Atlantic

Others contend, “Buttigieg wants to set a generous narrative of national identity against Trump’s cramped and cruel vision, and against the progressive hostility to any national identity at all. It won’t be easy. He speaks of the compassion of his Indiana neighbors toward refugees, their desire to be part of ‘a greater project’ than just America First. But the strongest political emotions of the moment are fear, disillusionment, and hatred. As impressive as he is personally, Buttigieg hasn’t yet found the words, the music, and the policies to make his appeal convincing.”
George Packer, The Atlantic

“For Warren or anyone else to prevent the uniquely depressing experience of a Biden ‘national unity’ campaign, specifically targeted at a tiny cadre of wobbly Trump voters and Jeff Flake-style dissident Republicans, something has to change before next winter. Democratic voters and the media and basically everyone else must get over their skittish, fearful response to the Trump presidency, and their based-on-nothing certainty that nominating a progressive or a woman or a socialist or anybody who isn’t an avuncular white man with a vaguely reassuring demeanor and no discernible ideology will once again lead to disaster.”
Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

From the Right

The right is skeptical of polls this early in the campaign, and offers thoughts on Biden’s candidacy.

From the Right

The right is skeptical of polls this early in the campaign, and offers thoughts on Biden’s candidacy.

Regarding the Quinnipiac poll, “I'm skeptical these numbers would actually be representative of the general election. According to the poll, Trump would barely edge out Biden among white voters, 47% to 46%. In 2016, Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 20 points among white voters — and this was not unheard of. Mitt Romney beat the Obama-Biden ticket by 20 points among whites in 2012, and John McCain won whites by 12 points in 2008…

“Quinnipiac [also] found that Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., would get within eight points of Trump among white voters… Not since 1996, when Bill Clinton came within two points of Bob Dole, has any Democrat come within single digits among whites. It's just hard to see Harris having the best performance among whites in 24 years running against Trump, who has built his successful electoral career around white identity politics.”
Philip Klein, Washington Examiner

We are 17 months away from the election. At this point in the 2016 election season, polls showed Hillary Clinton ahead of Trump by huge margins… An Associated Press poll published on 10/25/16, two weeks before the election, gave the race to Clinton by 13 points, the same margin that Quinnipiac gives to Biden today.”
Elizabeth Vaughn, RedState

“Iowa Democratic voters have seen and heard much more from the contenders than almost any other state, and thus are much less likely to base their preferences largely on name identification. For Biden, that hasn’t been a good thing… The state’s ideological lean also hampers Biden. Sixty-eight percent of 2016 Democratic caucusgoers were liberals, according to the entrance poll. That’s bad news for Biden, whose national lead rests on moderate voters. There are simply many fewer potential Biden voters in the state than there are in the nation as a whole. This places organization at a premium, as it is crucial for him to turn out every last potential vote… If Biden can’t win in Iowa, he’s unlikely to be able to catch up later.”
Henry Olsen, Washington Post

Some argue, “The only Democratic candidate with real national stature is former Vice President Joe Biden… [But] Biden has always been a weak, self-destructive candidate and he is still a weak, self-destructive candidate. From defending the Chinese, to sniffing people’s hair, to plagiarizing others, there is a ‘Bidenness’ that plagued his first two campaigns for president and will probably destroy this one. If Biden does fade – and recent Iowa polls certainly make this possible – the Democrats will have no national candidate.”
Newt Gingrich, Fox News

Others contend, “Biden’s decision to change his position [on the Hyde Amendment] is actually something [abortion supporters] should welcome — because it is a tribute to the power they hold. Pro-lifers loved George H.W. Bush when he flip-flopped, and just look at the behavior of evangelicals in relation to Trump on social issues. Making converts out of politicians is what activism is all about. Punishing someone for joining you is politically insane, even for people who often seem politically insane. The truth is that Biden is running a nearly perfect campaign in the early going based on one implicit message: I can beat Trump, because I can speak to his voters and I’m not a crazy socialist like some of these other folks.”
John Podhoretz, New York Post

Still others point out that “a recent NPR/Marist poll finds only 18 percent support third-trimester abortion. Yet every [Democratic] senator running for president voted against a bill requiring doctors to help infants who survive a late-term abortion. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) says there’s no room in the party ‘for a Democratic candidate who does not support women’s full reproductive freedom.’ That’s slamming the door on a majority of voters…

“The Democratic contenders are espousing policies few Americans support and giving moderate and conservative members of their own party the cold shoulder… Democrats eyeing the White House need to get real. By writing off moderate and conservative members of their own party, they’re boosting Trump’s chances of reelection. Then again, Trump’s reelection may be the gut punch that brings the Democratic party back to its senses.”
Betsy McCaughey, National Review

A libertarian's take

“The relevant question is not the nationality of a source offering ‘oppo research’ but the accuracy and relevance of the information. Another consideration is whether the information was obtained illegally—by hacking emails, for example. While the Supreme Court has said people have a First Amendment right to share illegally obtained information if they were not involved in the lawbreaking (something that news organizations frequently do), you might reasonably argue that they should also report such crimes when they become aware of them, which may be what Trump had in mind when he said he might contact the FBI ‘if I thought there was something wrong.’”
Jacob Sullum, Reason

On the bright side...

A massive Krispy Kreme flagship store is opening in Times Square, complete with a glaze waterfall.

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