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Bye-bye Biden? Warren leads in new national poll, tied for lead in another

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Bear in mind, these results are trickling in *before* Democratic voters have digested the allegations of corruption made against Biden in the Ukraine matter. Even if they opt not to believe them, how many will conclude that swing voters will believe them next fall and start discounting Biden’s alleged “electability” advantage?

Imagine if Trump ends up being impeached for trying to make trouble abroad for a candidate who was never going to be his general election opponent anyway.

A game-changing new poll from Quinnipiac:

Westlake Legal Group q Bye-bye Biden? Warren leads in new national poll, tied for lead in another YouGov warren Trump The Blog Quinnipiac primary New Hampshire harris democratic biden 2020

Not only is 27 percent the best Warren’s ever done in a national poll, it’s also the first time she’s led Biden outright in any national poll. As usual, she leads him in enthusiasm too: Fully 70 percent of Dems say they’d be excited to see her as nominee versus 56 percent who say the same of Biden.

The real alarm bell for Grandpa Joe, though, is the split among black voters, as Philip Klein rightly notes:

Back in a July poll, Warren was essentially in a three-way tie for second place, with 15 percent nationally, according to Quinnipiac. In that poll, she was at 20 percent among white voters, but way back at six percent among black voters. In a Wednesday poll, she has vaulted to the top, with 27 percent overall, just edging out Joe Biden, at 25 percent. But now among black voters, she’s in second place, at 19 percent.

In California, it’s a similar story. A new LA Times poll finds Warren jumping to a 29 percent to 22 percent lead in the delegate-rich state overall, but, she’s only trailing Biden 32 percent to 24 percent among black voters. Sen. Kamala Harris, who is both black and from California, was at 18 percent among the group.

Not only is Warren now second to Biden among black voters, trailing him 40/19, but Bernie Sanders has 12 percent of that group. If Bernie fades and black progressives begin drifting towards Warren, suddenly she’d be competitive with Joe among voters who are supposed to be his “firewall,” the group that will offset his losses among other demographics by preferring him overwhelmingly. Blacks no longer prefer him overwhelmingly, according to today’s Quinnipiac data. And given the general drift towards Warren in all polling lately, it’s likely that his lead among them will shrink rather than grow.

Could the Quinnipiac poll be an outlier? Seems unlikely. This new data that dropped this morning from YouGov confirms that the race is a coin flip right now, with Warren and Biden neck and neck in the mid-20s.

When Democratic voters are asked whom they’re considering voting for, Warren leads Biden 54/47. There are other polls lately that look like this too — Emerson recently had Biden up 25/23 and NBC/WSJ had it 31/25 in mid-September. There’s no reason, in other words, to think Quinnipiac and YouGov are “bad polls” for Biden or “good polls” for Warren. They seem to accurately reflect the state of the race at the moment, before the impact of the Ukraine stuff has been felt. In fact, as of today, Warren is the first candidate besides Biden to crack 20 percent in the RCP poll of polls since May. She seems to be for real.

“But wait,” you say, “national polls are interesting but ultimately don’t matter. Iowa and New Hampshire are what matter.” Right, true — but Warren’s surging there too. I already posted this new Monmouth poll of New Hampshire yesterday but it’s worth eyeballing the numbers again:

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She’s just three points behind Biden in the RCP polling average of the state right now. And Iowa? Warren has led the field there in the last two polls taken, 24/16 over Biden in an Iowa State survey taken in mid-September and 22/20 in a Des Moines Register poll conducted a few days later. She’s up 2.7 points in the RCP average.

If you had to make a bet on the Democratic primaries at this particular moment in time, Warren running the table would look like a fairly solid bet. The question is whether South Carolina’s mostly black Democratic electorate would stick with Biden if he lost the first two states or if they’d break for Warren if she won them. The signs there aren’t great for Biden either, per Politico:

Biden’s level of support in South Carolina makes it his firewall state, but even in South Carolina there are troubling signs of erosion. While he remains on top, among black voters, who are more than 60 percent of the Democratic electorate, Biden has plummeted 19 points in Tyson’s polls. That’s a potential leading indicator of the problems he could face after South Carolina’s Feb. 29 primary when many of the minority-heavy Southeastern states — as well as Texas and California — beginning voting on Super Tuesday, March 3, and thereafter.

As strange as it is to imagine after the Democratic field initially ballooned to more than 20 candidates, the actual race could be over quickly once Democrats start voting. Which means Trump will never have a chance to use the Ukraine matter against Biden — but Warren will have lots of chances to use it against Trump. Good lord.

Exit question: Kamala Harris is now at three percent nationally, per Quinnipiac? Was even Scott Walker’s 2016 flameout as embarrassing as this?

The post Bye-bye Biden? Warren leads in new national poll, tied for lead in another appeared first on Hot Air.

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And then there were two: New WSJ/NBC poll has Biden and Warren breaking from the pack as Harris collapses

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This is a big deal if it’s part of a trend, and maybe it is. After all, it was just a week ago that Elizabeth Warren pulled 26 percent in a YouGov poll, her best total ever. Now here she is again breaking into the mid-20s with Bernie Sanders a distant third in the mid-teens.

Is this now a two-way race?

Because increasingly it feels like a two-way race.

Biden fans will find solace in the fact that he kept pace with Warren’s surge, losing just one net point to her since July. But read the fine print here. When we combine first- and second-choice totals for the candidates (and we should since the race is still heavily in flux at this early point) we find Warren at the head of the pack, not Grandpa Joe.

Westlake Legal Group 1-3 And then there were two: New WSJ/NBC poll has Biden and Warren breaking from the pack as Harris collapses wsj warren The Blog primary poll o'rourke nbc National harris democratic biden beto

Who’s leading in voter enthusiasm, you ask? Right, Warren again. Back in March, just 20 percent of Democrats said they were enthusiastic about her as nominee. Today 35 percent do. The trends for Bernie and Biden are in the opposite direction, with enthusiasm for Sanders dipping from 28 to 25 percent since March and enthusiasm for Joe sliding all the way from 33 percent to 23. Dems are going to find themselves in quite a spot if Biden ekes out the nomination on “electability” grounds despite no one getting excited for him while Warren has to settle for second place despite galvanizing the base.

The divide among white voters is especially interesting since, as Liam Donovan notes, Iowa and New Hampshire are almost entirely white. Warren is surging ahead among white college grads but Biden remains in front with working-class whites. Who wins that death struggle in the early states?

Another race-related development worth nothing: Warren has now crept into second place among black Democrats. It’s a very distant second to Biden, just 13 percent compared to his 49, but if she starts taking chunks of his base he’s finished.

And speaking of finished. Although it’s not news that her polls have slipped significantly since July, the fact that she’s now down to a dismal five percent here suggests that Officer Harris has retired from the 2020 force. She’s now fifth when candidates are measured by their first- and second-choice totals behind Pete Buttigieg, and it seems perfectly plausible that she’ll have been passed by Andrew Yang the next time NBC polls the race. This poll is no outlier either: The last three surveys tracked by RCP had her at six, four, and six points. Imagine being a millionaire liberal who’s been approached by Harris for your support. What could she possibly say at this point to convince you to cut her a check instead of Warren or Biden or even Sanders? Hopefully this poll will kickstart the “Harris is a surprisingly weak, cynical, inauthentic candidate” takes in the media, because she really is all of those things and more attention should be paid to it.

One last point. There’s a running debate among politics nerds about whether Bernie is hurting Warren or Biden more by remaining in the race. You might think the answer is obvious — he’s hurting Warren because they’re both far left and some of his voters would surely be with her if he dropped out. But Bernie also appeals to older working-class white voters, the same people who gravitate to Grandpa Joe. Not all voters are ideologues. For some, if they can’t get the geriatric socialist nominated for president, they’ll take the geriatric centrist. I mention all that because this graph from NBC’s story about the poll caught my eye:

Westlake Legal Group n-2 And then there were two: New WSJ/NBC poll has Biden and Warren breaking from the pack as Harris collapses wsj warren The Blog primary poll o'rourke nbc National harris democratic biden beto

Clearly Bernie does seem to be hurting Warren more than Biden right now. Given the reports today of dissension within the ranks of Team Sanders, you wonder if some Berniebros will begin grudgingly leaning him on this fall to do the right thing and endorse Warren if there’s further separation between the two in polling.

Oh, almost forgot: Now that we have two separate post-debate polls showing Beto O’Rourke’s numbers stuck in the toilet, I think we can safely conclude that last week’s gun-confiscation stunt was a bust.

In lieu of an exit question, via Jeff Dunetz, here’s the Trump campaign’s new tribute to the mental health of the Democratic frontrunner, who’s probably not really the frontrunner anymore at this point.

The post And then there were two: New WSJ/NBC poll has Biden and Warren breaking from the pack as Harris collapses appeared first on Hot Air.

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Debate night in America: Three full hours of left-wing geriatrics bickering with each other

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8 p.m. ET on ABC. Congrats, everyone: With Kamala Harris having faded and Boot Edge Edge serving as a trash receptacle for left-wingers’ disposable income, the battle tonight really is down to Grandma versus the two Grandpas.

The winner is whoever falls asleep last.

Lotta moving pieces to this spectacle. Biden remains the prime target for the simple reason that he remains the frontrunner, although at least one poll has Elizabeth Warren pulling into a tie with him and virtually all polls have showed her gaining since the second debate in July. Because only 10 candidates made the cut for this one, everyone’s on the same stage — which means this is the first time Biden and Warren will face each other. Due to the luck of the draw, they ended up in different groups for the first two debates. She’s going to come hard at him for being a corporatist DINO; he’s going to come hard at her for being a big-spending phony who was happy to court rich donors until recently. In fact, Biden crony Ed Rendell published a splashy op-ed this morning in WaPo previewing that line of attack. Title: “I like Elizabeth Warren. Too bad she’s a hypocrite.”

Warren attacked former vice president Joe Biden for holding a kickoff fundraiser in Philadelphia in April, which she criticized as “a swanky private fund-raiser for wealthy donors” in an email to supporters the next day.

Well, I helped organize that affair, and I thought her attack was extremely hypocritical because nearly 20 of us who attended the Biden fundraiser had also given her $2,000 or more in 2018 at closed-door fundraisers in “swanky” locations.

Warren didn’t seem to have any trouble taking our money in 2018, but suddenly we were power brokers and influence peddlers in 2019. The year before, we were wonderful. I co-chaired one of the events for the senator and received a glowing, handwritten thank-you letter from her for my hard work.

Rendell told Politico this afternoon that he was getting ripped by the “Elizabeth Elites” on Twitter for his piece but added mischievously that the “Bernie Bots,” who normally detest him for his centrism, “really liked the column.” That touches on the central mystery tonight: Will Bernie come after Warren for being insufficiently socialist or will their nonaggression pact hold? If he holds his fire and she has a big night, she might bounce out ahead and never look back. If he attacks her, some Warren voters might be enraged and Biden might benefit long-term. No good options.

Team Biden has had enough of the media trash-talking their guy, meanwhile:

“I don’t know of anybody who has taken as sustained and vitriolic a negative pounding as Biden and who has come through it with the strength he has,” said a top Biden adviser. “So why isn’t the argument not that he’s a ‘fragile front runner,’ but instead why is this guy so strong? How is he able to withstand this? Because it is unrelenting. Every story that has been written about Biden for a month has been negative! I would ask Warren and Sanders and these folks: He’s been pummeled for months. For months! So why is he going to fall apart now?”…

They brandish the many predictions of his demise as evidence of their more sophisticated understanding of the Democratic electorate. “He’s still leading the race nationally. He’s leading in Iowa. It looks like he’s in a dead heat in New Hampshire,” said the top Biden adviser. “I don’t know why the story in New Hampshire isn’t how Bernie Sanders went from sixty to fourteen. And why is it that Biden is beating Warren in Massachusetts? And he’s way ahead in South Carolina. And this is all on the back end of really the most vicious press I think anyone’s experienced. So that to me is a statement of strength. And anyone who’s sitting around waiting for him to fall apart—you know what, it hasn’t happened yet.”

I wonder if that top advisor’s name rhymes with “Ed Rendell.” The good news for Team Joe is that tonight’s outcome will resolve their dilemma one way or another. If Biden does well in his first debate with the entire top tier onstage together, some of the “soft frontrunner” buzz will quiet down. If he doesn’t do well, it’ll get louder and it’ll seem perfectly justified. It’s not just Warren who’s coming for him either, needless to say. Harris is desperate to use this opportunity to turn her sinking campaign around; her best option to do that remains targeting Biden and trying to pry loose some of his black supporters, who have stayed loyal to him after a brief flirtation with Harris following the first debate. Cory Booker’s going to try the same approach — this is his moment to elbow past Harris as the most formidable black candidate in the race and make an impression on the South Carolina electorate.

As for the other five onstage, there isn’t much to say. Beto’s been warned not to curse. Joaquin Castro is running for VP. Klobuchar’s hanging around just in case Biden forgets his own name and centrists need somewhere to run. Buttigieg’s campaign is essentially one long fundraiser now. The only interesting figure in the bottom half of the top tier is Andrew Yang, whose campaign promised yesterday that he’d do something unprecedented onstage tonight — a tease which he’s been having fun with ever since:

A likable guy who’ll benefit from the extra attention he’ll receive tonight in a smaller debate crowd. He won’t be the nominee but there’s a nonzero chance that he’ll be in the top four(!) in the next round of polling if he does well this evening. Right now Harris is fourth in the field averaging 6.5 percent, Buttigieg is fifth at 4.8 percent, and Yang is sixth at 3.0 percent. But he actually polled a point better than Buttigieg in a recent Harvard survey and was just one point behind him and Harris in the latest from Reuters. He’s a wild card. I’m rooting for him.

One more thought about the big three before the debate starts, this time from RCP elections analyst Sean Trende. Every four years people start heavy-breathing about a brokered convention and every four years it doesn’t happen. It’s not as unlikely this time as it has been in the past, though:

The modern era of elections, where fundraising is effectively crowdsourced on the Internet and where candidates can reach millions of voters through social media effectively for free, seems to suggest that at some point in the next few cycles we will have a situation where no candidate wins a majority of the delegates. The Democratic Party seems particularly vulnerable to this outcome, since delegates are awarded proportionally (once candidates cross a certain vote threshold). This is unlike the Republican primaries where the final ones are winner-take-all; this is probably the only thing that prevented a brokered convention in 2016 on the Republican side.

This Democratic nightmare scenario doesn’t involve six or seven candidates making it to Super Tuesday – that is unlikely to happen. Instead it involves two or three candidates, and then a factional candidate who continues to draw 15% in the polls in most states and refuses to drop out as two other candidates duke it out. In other words, something like Biden vs. Warren vs. Sanders.

Right, Bernie might hang around to the bitter end even if he’s reliably landing in third place in primary voting, believing that he owes it to progressives to give them a pure socialist option on the ballot. There might even be tactical reasons for him to keep going, as some polls show that more of his supporters prefer Biden to Warren as their second choice and thus Bernie would be aiding the progressive Warren by hoarding those voters himself. Imagine if Biden finishes with the most delegates, Warren finishes second, and Sanders finishes third but with enough delegates that he and Warren together have a majority. Who’s the nominee in that scenario? Biden because he finished ahead or Warren because a majority of delegates are pledged to progressive candidates? (Presumably Bernie would endorse her too.)

The debate will air live on ABC and online on ABC.com and on the ABC mobile app and on the ABC YouTube account — which is embedded below, so it’s virtually impossible to avoid this thing. Here’s your thread to comment.

The post Debate night in America: Three full hours of left-wing geriatrics bickering with each other appeared first on Hot Air.

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CNN’s seven-hour climate change townhall: Last in the ratings, of course

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I say “of course” not because seven hours of progressives lecturing you about your carbon footprint sounds not just punitive but draconian. Or, for that matter, because a seven-hour series of lectures on *any* policy topic, particularly by self-serving candidates for high office, is destined to be insufferable.

I say “of course” because CNN is almost always last in the evening ratings. Of course their climate-change series finished last. It was a day ending in “y.”

Here’s the funny part: This endless grueling slog through familiar Democratic talking points about sustainability actually rated higher than CNN’s regular primetime programming. Something as didactic as Elizabeth Warren riffing about windmills drew more viewers than Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, and Chris Cuomo exploring the hottest news of the day. Maybe CNN should start airing insurance seminars at night. Ratings might improve.

CNN averaged 1.1 million viewers from 5 p.m. to midnight, the hours devoted to back-to-back town halls by 10 Democratic contenders.

MSNBC finished second with 1.7 million total viewers during the time period, with Fox News winning the time period with an average of 2.5 million. Both channels provided regular programming on Wednesday night…

During the 8 p.m.-11 p.m. hours of prime time, Fox News averaged 3.2 million total viewers, placing first. MSNBC was second with a 2.2 million average and CNN third with 1.4 million.

However the average 1.4 million tuning in to CNN for the event was well above its average in primetime in 2019.

“In fairness to Biden, everyone who is watching this has blood coming out of their eyes,” said Stephen “redsteeze” Miller while it was airing.

No way to know which way the viewing audience leaned but this point made me laugh too because it jibes with my own experience on social media today:

Did righties hate-watch it, for outrage fuel in the “I can’t believe how crazy these people are!” vein? Democratic voters have heard this shtick from their candidates ad nauseam for months. Why would they watch? Unless it was for the same reason that CNN aired the event — not because they wanted to, exactly, but because they concluded that being a responsible public citizen requires at least formally registering concern about this issue.

The problem with climate-change chitchat from lefties is that it turns the appeal of their basic ideological pitch on its head. Democrats spend most of their time telling voters what they’re going to give them — free health care and forgiveness of student loan debt for starters, along with 50 other forms of redistribution. Right, those things aren’t technically free since they require new taxes to fund them, but don’t you worry. Rich people have a limitless supply of wealth that can be expropriated, or so we’re told. On climate change the Democratic pitch is the opposite: You’re going to have to make sacrifices, some big and some very small, for the common good. And in many ways that common good won’t be visible to you in terms of concrete improvements. Change your diet, change your transportation, socialize the economy, and maybe we can preserve America’s coastlines roughly in their current shape for awhile. Provided Europe, China, and India agree to tighten their own belts too.

If modern Americans were willing to radically change their lifestyle expectations in return for long-term sustainability, we would have had a serious national conversation long ago about America’s ability to fund its most popular government programs. It’s precisely because politicians risk ruin by tinkering with those expectations, in fact, that even minor climate-change proposals like banning straws get such attention on the right. A proposal like that drives home in a trivial but real way that sacrifices will have to be made down to the micro level to implement the Democratic agenda. You, personally, are going to feel it. Andrew Yang, easily the most likable Democrat left in the race, told a national audience last night that not only would cars powered by fossil fuels need to be phased out, the feds might have to institute a buyback program to get current models off the road. Who’s paying for that? How’s that idea going to play in the midwest? Good luck, progressives.

The buzziest clip from the event that’s online today didn’t come from the townhall itself but from Pete Buttigieg’s follow-up appearance on CNN this morning, in which he reminded burger-lovers that they’re part of the problem. He didn’t dwell on it, and if you’re familiar with Democratic climate-change arguments there’s nothing surprising about what he said. Shrinking the country’s carbon footprint means shrinking the meat industry’s considerable carbon footprint. The clip is circulating, though, because it’s efficient shorthand for how the progressive agenda would deprive average people of even simple pleasures to achieve its ideological goals. Would these green clerics who zip around the country on private jets really snatch the Whopper out of your hands in the name of saving the polar bears? We’ll see.

The post CNN’s seven-hour climate change townhall: Last in the ratings, of course appeared first on Hot Air.

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And then there were 10: Democratic field cut in half for third debate

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No Marianne Williamson? No reason to watch, then.

To qualify for this one a candidate needed to poll two percent or better in four national or early-state polls plus receive donations from at least 130,000 different people, including 400 each from 20 different states. If more than 10 candidates cleared that bar, ABC was planning to split the debate again into two nights. Which, under the circumstances, might have been a good thing: As tired as everyone is of multi-night debates, there’s a difference between two groups of 10 that are larded up with clown candidates like Bill de Blasio and two groups of five or six stocked with people who have a more realistic chance at the nomination. Imagine a group of five that included both Biden and Warren, giving them an extended opportunity to go at each other with little interruption.

But no, only 10 made it. There was one minor surprise among those who did and two minor surprises among those who didn’t. The de facto finalists for the nomination:

Joe Biden
Elizabeth Warren
Bernie Sanders
Kamala Harris
Pete Buttigieg
Beto O’Rourke
Cory Booker
Julian Castro
Amy Klobuchar
Andrew Yang

The minor surprise is Yang, whose passionate online following pushed him past officeholders like Michael Bennet, Steve Bullock, Tulsi Gabbard, and de Blasio. At 2.5 percent, he’s actually sixth among all Dems in RCP’s poll of polls right now, slightly ahead of O’Rourke, Booker, Castro, and Klobuchar. It’s hard to imagine him having a “breakout moment” in an exchange with some other candidate, but maybe he doesn’t need one. Just the fact that he’ll have more time to speak on a less crowded stage might help him build on his polling.

The two surprise misses are Tulsi Gabbard and billionaire Tom Steyer, each of whom cleared the bar on donations and had multiple polls of two percent or better — but not quite four of them. (Gabbard had two, Steyer three.) Gabbard must feel cheated since she’s actually outpolling some of the candidates who qualified for the debate in the RCP average: She’s at 1.4 percent, slightly ahead of Castro and Klobuchar, although it’s only one pollster, YouGov, that consistently has her at two percent or better. Steyer, meanwhile, has been pouring money into early states in order to raise his profile there. He’s already touched three percent in Iowa and four percent in New Hampshire. Which means we’re likely to see him at the fourth debate in October: For whatever weird reason, the DNC made the requirements for that one the same as for this one. So if Steyer can get one more poll at two percent or better in the next few weeks, he’s in that debate. And of course, so is everyone who already managed to qualify for the third debate.

“But AP,” you say, “why the hell would Democrats want the debate field to *expand* after raising the bar for qualifying for later debates? The whole point here is to narrow the field, right?” Uh, right. I don’t know why they didn’t require better polling and more donations for the fourth debate. Presumably they wanted to give late entrants a chance to make a splash and land a spot onstage. Imagine how excited Nancy Pelosi must be to see Steyer, one of the loudest impeachment advocates in the country, on the cusp of buying his way onto the stage next month and turning up the pressure on House Dems.

That also explains why some of the no-shotters might not quit the race immediately after failing to qualify for debate three. Gabbard certainly won’t; she has a chance of qualifying for the fourth with two more hopeful polls this month. Williamson, who had one poll of two percent or better, may hang around too because why not? As for Bennet, Bullock, John Delaney, Tim Ryan, and (grumble) de Blasio, they might as well bail out now. With no platform at the third debate, what’s their springboard to a polling surge?

Anyway, congrats to Kamala Harris on not having to face Gabbard a second time. I’m not sure her campaign could have survived it. As for Gabbard possibly running as a far-left independent and sabotaging the Democratic nominee if she flames out of the primary — a scenario some lefties, suspicious of her right-wing fan base, have pondered — she told CNN this morning there’s no way. But then, she *would* say that when she’s still trying to earn Democratic votes, wouldn’t she? Exit question: It’s the fourth debate, not the third one, that’s shaping up to be lively, right? That’s the one where all the longshots like Beto, Booker, Castro, and Klobuchar will have to do something dramatic in hopes of building enough support in polls to qualify for debate five.

The post And then there were 10: Democratic field cut in half for third debate appeared first on Hot Air.

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Fox News poll: Trump under 40% head-to-head against all four top Democratic candidates

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I say this only half-jokingly: I wonder if Fox will find an excuse to discontinue, or at least scale back, its polling of the election as the campaign wears on. Trump has already warned them publicly that he’s willing to promote their competition if anchors like Shep Smith keep knocking him. Bad polling bothers him more since it suggests that the people themselves dislike him, not just Fox’s 3 p.m. guy. If he starts slapping the “fake news” label on Fox because of its polls, who knows what effect that’ll have on Fox’s viewers.

I bet the network will come up with a reason to poll less frequently. Or nudge the anchors to at least not mention the numbers on the air.

This data comes from the same survey I wrote up yesterday. The key number isn’t the share won by the Democrat in each match-up, it’s the share won by Trump. What Fox is telling us here is that, at this moment in time, fewer than 40 percent of the country is committed to reelecting him no matter what other name you throw at them.

Westlake Legal Group f Fox News poll: Trump under 40% head-to-head against all four top Democratic candidates Trump The Blog poll Joe Biden harris fox news Elizabeth Warren Bernie Sanders

One stat from Fox’s write-up of the poll jumps off the page: “Voters who have a negative view of both Biden and Trump back Biden by a 43-10 percent margin in the head-to-head matchup…” Trump famously cleaned up in key states in 2016 among voters who disliked both him and Hillary. He was the lesser of two evils to undecideds then. Against Biden, he’d face an opponent who’s not only more personally popular than he is but who appeals more than Trump does to people who are disinclined to support either.

Another reason for Biden’s stronger showing against Trump is older voters. Among voters aged 45 or older, Sanders, Warren, and Harris each lead Trump by a mere one or two points. Biden leads him by eight. That’s another demographic that was key to Trump’s victory in 2016 and which is wavering now:

In 2016, despite polling showing an advantage for Democrat Hillary Clinton, voters over 65 backed Mr. Trump in the presidential election by a 52%-45% margin, according to exit polls. With still more than a year before next year’s election, 41% of seniors in a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in June said they would prefer to see Mr. Trump re-elected, while 48% favored a generic Democrat to win in 2020. That comes as 46% of seniors said they approve of Mr. Trump’s performance in office, slightly higher than his 44% overall approval rating…

In a July Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, Mr. Trump trailed former Vice President Joe Biden among seniors in a theoretical head-to-head contest, 55% to 43%. Voters over 65 also favored Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren over Mr. Trump by 7 and 8 percentage points, respectively.

Younger adults dislike Trump so he needs to pile up his margin among seniors to offset that deficit. One of the strongest arguments for nominating Grandpa Joe, in other words, ironically may be that his age and decades of familiarity to seniors could undercut Trump among his own age cohort in the electorate. In fact, when Fox asked Democratic primary voters if they prefer a nominee who will “get American politics back to normalcy” as president or a nominee who will “fundamentally change the way things work in Washington,” the group that broke hardest for “return to normalcy” was — you guessed it — voters aged 45 or older, at 66/30. Older Americans, at least those who lean left, want to go back to what they consider the good old days. Naturally that benefits the old centrist former VP in the primary, and might benefit him again in the general election.

Fox polled Democrats on their primary preferences too, of course. That is … some shift since March:

Westlake Legal Group g-2 Fox News poll: Trump under 40% head-to-head against all four top Democratic candidates Trump The Blog poll Joe Biden harris fox news Elizabeth Warren Bernie Sanders

Biden and Harris haven’t budged an inch. All the momentum is from Sanders to Warren. Warren was also second in a poll this week of South Carolina, albeit only slightly ahead of Bernie there. When I suggested a few weeks ago that Warren was the biggest threat to steal votes from Bernie, a bunch of smart politicos tut-tutted me that it’s actually Biden who’s the biggest threat since he and Bernie both appeal to white working-class Dems. If you believe Fox, though, I was right: Virtually all of the migration out of Sanders’s camp has ended up in Warren’s. It may be that the rump of Bernie’s current support consists of those blue-collar white voters who are also considering Biden, such that we might see an uptick for Grandpa Joe if Sanders begins to fade from the race. But for now it looks like simple cause-and-effect between Warren’s rise in the polls and Bernie’s decline. Progressives, the sort of people who are further left than mainstream liberals but not so far left that they identify as DSA, seem to prefer her to him. She’s winning the battle for the left “lane,” if such a thing exists.

Oh, last thing: The most popular politician in the Democratic Party by far is Barack Obama, who pulls a 93/6 favorable rating in Fox’s poll. It may be annoying to hear Biden mention his association with O every three seconds on the stump, but it’s not stupid of him to do so.

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In the tank: PolitiFact won’t call Warren, Harris liars for labeling Michael Brown’s death a “murder”

Westlake Legal Group ew In the tank: PolitiFact won’t call Warren, Harris liars for labeling Michael Brown’s death a “murder” warren The Blog Politifact police Obama murder killing justifiable Justice Department homicide harris ferguson doj

You need to read this piece in full to appreciate how hard it works to imply that Harris and Warren have clean hands here even though (a) they’re *blatantly* wrong and (b) there’s every reason to believe they’re acting in bad faith. The two candidates wanted to signal to left-wing primary voters that their wokeness is so sublime that they’re willing to call the police shooting of Michael Brown five years ago a “murder” even though the cop wasn’t charged by a grand jury for it and was subsequently cleared by the Obama Justice Department. A lie that transparent (and inflammatory), for transparent political ends, told by a Republican politician would have been easy “pants on fire” material for these silly fact-checking sites. Not here.

If this outfit wasn’t so terrified of contradicting left-wing Larger Truth dogma, they could have fact-checked this one in two paragraphs. Paragraph one: The claim.

Paragraph two: The fact check.

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That’s from the report prepared by Eric Holder’s team at the DOJ. A Missouri grand jury also declined to indict the officer for the shooting. Normally when you have not one but two investigatory bodies, one of which had political reasons to be skeptical, nonetheless conclude that a homicide was justifiable then by definition it’s not properly described as “murder.” But if PolitiFact took that view, it would risk being seen as insensitive to police shootings by people whose opinion it values. And so we get torturous clean-up efforts on Warren’s and Harris’s behalf like this:

[E]xperts who have studied police-related deaths and race relations said that focusing too much on the linguistics in controversial cases comes with its own set of problems.

“I don’t know if the legalistic distinction intensifies the anger, but it does feel like an attempt to shift the debate from a discussion about the killing of black and brown people by police,” said Jean Brown, who teaches communications at Texas Christian University and specializes in media representations of African Americans. “This is unfortunate, because rather than discussing the need for de-escalation tactics and relations between police and communities of color, this has become a conversation about legal terms. Quite frankly, it’s a distraction that doesn’t help the discussion.”

Because the significance of Harris’ and Warrens’ use of the word is open to some dispute, we won’t be rating their tweets on the Truth-O-Meter.

Calling a lie a lie here would be unhelpful to the National Conversation so PolitiFact politely declines. But what’s the point of engaging in a National Conversation when you know up front that lying outright in the name of raising awareness will be permitted?

This has been going on for years, though, with earlier analyses detecting more interest in Republican lies at PolitiFact than Democratic ones. Rest assured, if Trump starts tweeting that Epstein was “murdered,” no allowance will be made by PF for the fact that many people share his suspicions despite an official finding of suicide by the medical examiner. (If in fact that official finding is made, which seems likely.) Actually, I don’t even need to use a hypothetical: PolitiFact happily declared it a lie in 2016 when Michael Cohen retweeted a meme that accused Hillary Clinton of having essentially murdered the U.S. ambassador to Libya by not providing him with more security before the Benghazi attack. Caveat lector, then — if you’re still reading “fact-check” sites in 2019, you get the quality of information you deserve.

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First post-debate poll: Almost no change for anyone — except Harris

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Let me toss an idea at you and, if you don’t like it, you can give it right back: The Harris/Gabbard debate exchange on Wednesday is to 2020 what the Rubio/Christie debate exchange was to 2016. In both cases a longshot candidate torpedoed a promising top-tier candidate with real coalition-building potential, paving the way for the frontrunner to secure the nomination.

Nah, doesn’t quite work, I think. For one thing, it’s way too early still. Christie blew up Rubio on the eve of the New Hampshire primary, when the stakes were as high as could be, whereas right now we’re still six months away from the first votes being cast. Harris has time to regroup. And it wasn’t so much Christie who nuked Rubio, really, as Rubio who nuked Rubio. Christie called him out for using canned talking points — and Rubio walked right into the attack by reverting again to canned talking points. It was basically self-sabotage.

The Gabbard/Harris exchange, by contrast, was a true attack. Tulsi filleted her.

Maybe it’s time for Officer Harris to find a new beat.

Follow the last link and you’ll find that every candidate is still within one or two points of where they stood on July 25th — except for Kamala, who’s declined three points to 10 percent. After her big show at the first debate, when she got the better of Biden on busing, she bounced out to 15 percent in the RCP poll of polls. Today she’s down to 11 percent on average and even lower than that in the Morning Consult data above, whereas Joe Biden is aloft with roughly one-third of the overall vote, in line with where he’s been since he got into the race. Harris is slowly headed in the wrong direction.

In fact, a Twitter pal suggested today that Grandpa Joe is starting to look a bit like Mitt Romney 2012. No one loves him and he’s going to take shots in debates, but in the end he may end up as the nominee by default, the “safe choice” who’s broadly acceptable to pretty much everyone. There may be something to that.

Although there’s a now-versus-then difference there too. It’s often forgotten that the 2012 GOP primary saw several flavors of the month, including Herman Cain, zoom past Romney in the polls during the early stages only to fall back to earth. Biden hasn’t experienced anything like that yet. He saw his lead decline after the first debate but now it’s increased again to pre-debate levels. In that sense he might be more like Trump 2016, a guy who takes a bit of damage periodically but shakes it off, and never ends up relinquishing his advantage.

Maybe the biggest news in the new poll, though, are the dogs that didn’t bark. Cory Booker had a strong night on Wednesday taking it to Biden — and has nothing whatsoever to show for it, if you believe Morning Consult. Pete Buttigieg, allegedly a top-tier candidate, remains mired in the five percent range after months of hype (although I suppose any candidate with this sort of dough in the bank can’t be written off). And despite making a splash online and earning praise from the chatterati on both sides for her performance on Tuesday, America’s sweetheart, Marianne Williamson, is still creeping along with just one percent of the vote. Dem primary voters have a much more robust immunity to celebrity kooks than Republican ones do, apparently. At least until Oprah gets in.

In lieu of an exit question, here’s another blast from Marianne’s past. You’ll be hearing about it from the rest of the field if/when she does start to gain traction in polling.

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POLITICO Agrees: Trump Won

Westlake Legal Group 99CB8FEA-3EC4-4E75-A6D4-53E011083E7B-620x620 POLITICO Agrees: Trump Won Uncategorized Trump republicans President Trump Politics Obama Policies harris Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story elections donald trump democrats Democrat Debates biden Allow Media Exception

Official portrait of President Donald J. Trump, Friday, October 6, 2017. (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

POLITICO Agrees: Trump Won

It’s Pretty Bad for the Dems When POLITICO agrees with me. In today’s unsigned opinion piece, Politico and I appear to be walking the same path; The President was the clear winner last night. From the article.

Trump won Wednesday night’s debate by a mile. Unlike Tuesday night, none of the top contenders in the Democratic field stood out or looked comfortable defending their positions and records or prosecuting the case against the incumbent president. It seemed as if there were more attacks on the past policies and practices of the Obama administration than on today’s Trump administration. Outside of Vice President Biden’s very effective opening statement and some early swings at the president by Senator Harris, the two leading candidates focused their fire on one another and failed to take the fight back to President Trump until nearly two hours in.

I am rapidly running out of popcorn and my Amazon Prime restock isn’t due for a few more days. I’m not sure I can handle all this winning.

The piece winds up with,

It is absolutely mind-boggling to me that the Democratic candidates think their best path forward is to aggressively and personally attack one another over the finer points of their white papers and decades-old positions, given the intensity of their base’s desire to remove Trump from the White House. It’s mind-boggling that there would be several candidates taking shots at Barack Obama when he’s broadly popular, Trump isn’t, and the whole point of this enterprise is beating Trump.

And finally,

And so in that regard, the loser of the debate tonight was the eventual Democratic nominee, who it is clear will win only after being a victim of some aggressive friendly fire.

Being a victim of aggressive friendly fire, fire that depends on whether you are tied to Obama or not. What a turn of events. Side note: I believe this article gave way too much deference to Kamala Harris. It totally failed to mention the thumping Tulsi Gabbard gave her over her unethical and in some cases, downright criminal behavior towards persons, many of color, caught up in California’s criminal (in)justice system. There will be more on that down the road.

Mike Ford, a retired Infantry Officer, writes on Military, Foreign Affairs and occasionally dabbles in Political and Economic matters.

Follow him on Twitter: @MikeFor10394583

You can find his other Red State work here.

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Second Democratic debate live thread: Biden-geddon

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Last night’s round one of the debate was hard to predict. Would the natural rivals, Bernie and Warren on the one hand and Buttigieg and Beto on the other, go toe-to-toe? (Nope.) Would the moderates, like John Delaney and Tim Ryan, pile on the progressives? (Yep.) Would Marianne Williamson cast a spell stealing the souls of everyone watching and encasing them in a magic crystal, to be freed only after America has safely elected her president? (Yes indeed.)

Tonight’s round two, at 8 p.m. ET on CNN, is more straightforward. The plan for nearly everyone onstage: Get Biden. Hit him high, hit him low, but hit him hard.

The line-up:

Joe Biden
Kamala Harris
Cory Booker
Julian Castro
Kirsten Gillibrand
Tulsi Gabbard
Bill de Blasio
Andew Yang
Jay Inslee
Michael Bennet

Harris is going to take her best shot at Biden, knowing that expectations are high after her breakout performance in the first debate. She pulled some black voters away from Grandpa Joe — temporarily — with the exchange about busing last month. She’s coming after him again, this time probably for his criminal justice bill, to try to further persuade those voters that he’s no friend to black Americans.

Cory Booker’s coming for him too. Spartacus is a desperate man, a marginal candidate to date who somehow needs to elbow past Biden *and* Harris to get black voters’ attention. He’s going to come at Biden for his record on race even more insistently tonight than she will in hopes of finally making his mark. Odds are good, in fact, that the main takeaway from viewers four hours from now will be annoyance that Booker kept interrupting in order to muscle in on the big Biden/Harris rematch.

Gillibrand? Yep, attacking Biden is probably also her best bet. She’s at risk of not qualifying for the third debate; if she doesn’t do something to jumpstart her campaign tonight, she might not have another chance. Landing a roundhouse to the despised centrist Biden’s chin is likely the easiest way to ingratiate herself to progressives.

How about Julian Castro? He had a strong debate last month, winning an exchange on immigration with Beto O’Rourke, but got nothing from it in the polls. He’s in Gillibrand’s boat, needing some immediate buzz. Nothing would do that as efficiently as proving that he’s a more effective left-wing attack dog against Biden than the more celebrated Harris or Booker are.

As for Grandpa Joe himself, he knows it’s coming. He and his campaign have spent the past two weeks all but daring Booker and Harris to come at him. He’s hit Booker hard for the Newark PD’s poor civil-rights record and scoffed at Harris’s fantasyland proposals for how to pay for Medicare for All. Harris got away unscathed in the first debate; he needs to make sure that doesn’t happen tonight. And he needs to look and sound nimble in sparring: A recurring criticism of his stumbling defense from Harris’s busing attack in the first debate was that he looked his age, seemingly caught off-guard. There’ll be no whiny excuses tonight if he stumbles again that Harris desecrated his son’s memory by criticizing him or whatever. Biden needs to prove he’s up to the task. If not, Trump might be taunting him as “low energy” before the debate’s even over.

The dark horse in tonight’s line-up, by the way, is Tulsi Gabbard, whom regular readers know has been landing hard jabs at Kamala Harris. You might think Harris and Gabbard would be more likely to be allies against Biden than Biden and Gabbard would be likely to be allies against Harris. Harris and Gabbard are each a bit further left than Joe, each women of color, each much younger than the former VP, each relatively new to Congress. But for whatever reason, Gabbard has singled her out, including and especially for the bad faith she showed in questioning Biden’s racial bona fides in the first debate. Gabbard might be an attack dog for Biden onstage tonight. And if she is, the theories of why she’s allied herself with him will be flying tomorrow.

CNN is livestreaming the debate on its website (no cable login required) in case you’re away from a television set. The commentariat is preparing for another lackluster Biden performancer, which would throw some new uncertainty into the race tomorrow, but … what if he has a great debate? He’s already back up to a big lead in polling. He could put a chokehold on the race tonight if he embarrasses Harris and Booker. In lieu of an exit question, read this column by Steve Chapman challenging the hypocritical wokeness being applied retroactively to Biden’s support for the Clinton-era crime bill. If crime were as bad now as it was then, argues Chapman, Harris and Booker both would have supported the legislation — especially Harris, a former AG.

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