Joe Biden has been officially running for president for less than a month. But in that short time, he has gone from nominal front-runner of a closely crowded pack of top-tier candidates to the clear frontrunner to be the party’s 2020 nominee against Donald Trump.
Polling tells the story. Biden released a video on April 25 announcing he was running. Two days later, the Real Clear Politics average of national polling on the 2020 Democratic primary put Biden at 29% to 23% for Bernie Sanders, 8% for Kamala Harris and 7.5% for Pete Buttigieg.
Today’s RCP polling average puts Biden at 39% to Sanders’ 16%. No other candidate has double-digit support. The trend line on Biden is where it should be (although he has dipped somewhat from his average of 41% last week). While all candidates get some boost from the flush of media attention that comes from an official entry into the race, Biden’s has been both a) bigger and b) longer than almost anyone expected.
What that surge has done is turn the race into Biden in a tier by himself and then a gaggle of candidates — Sanders, Harris, Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren — on a second tier well below the former VP.
Biden and his team are doing everything they can to drive that perception, releasing presidential-looking daily schedules and having his events covered by a pool reporter. Biden, too, is limiting his public appearances to keep the chances of making a race-altering gaffe as low as possible.
The early returns are very, very good. But presidential primaries almost always tighten when the actual votes begin to near. And with a field this large — 23 candidates as of the end of this week! — the chances of Biden running away with it aren’t great. (It’s also not impossible to imagine, however.)
The Point: Biden has changed the race in just three weeks. Now the onus will be on his many challengers to force a new dynamic on the contest before they run out of time.
Below, the week in 25 headlines:
- Trump says he’ll meet with China’s Xi amid intensifying trade fight
- Pompeo shares Iran intel with EU allies
- Trump welcomes Hungary’s PM after past presidents shunned him
- Pompeo warns Russia about election interference
- CIA, FBI, DNI working with AG Barr to review Russia probe origins
- US-China trade talks at a halt, despite cheery Trump tweets
- Trump Jr. reaches deal with Senate Intel for testimony in June
- NYT: WH reviews plan that would send up to 120,000 troops to Middle East
- WH rejects Democrats’ request for documents in obstruction probe
- Mnuchin: ‘Guess’ how he’ll respond to tax return subpoena
- State Department orders non-emergency employees to leave Iraq
- Trump administration declines to join Christchurch Call to Action
- TSA to deploy hundreds, including air marshals, to border
- Trump to visit South Korea amid stalled talks with the North
- WaPo: Trump Org claims ‘negative connotation’ of brand leads to revenue declines at Florida resort
- Trump reports making at least $434 million in 2018
- Trump unveils new (likely doomed) immigration plan
- Pruitt wasted nearly $124,000 on travel, EPA IG says
- EPA’s Wheeler takes self-described ‘potshot’ at Green New Deal
- Barr says he will not stop Mueller from testifying before Congress
- Trump to meet with President of Swiss Confederation
- Barr: Review of Russia investigation could lead to FBI rule changes
- Watchdog: HUD broke the law with furniture purchase for Carson
- Congress’ top leaders will meet with WH to launch budget talks
- Michael Flynn told Mueller people connected to Trump admin or Congress attempted to influence him
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