November 2019 – Democratic Primary

(Picture: San Diego Tribune)

BY DANIEL WRIGHT-MASON: Editor In Chief 

Another month, and another set of Democratic primary polls, as well as a recap on this month’s winners and losers.

november dem polling (Picture, RealClearPolitics)

Firstly, some key events from the month of November

  • November 2nd saw the suspension of Texas native Beto O’Rourke’s campaign. Despite heavy buzz during his 2018 Senate bid against Republican Ted Cruz, O’Rourke failed to capitalise on this name recognition, and resigned his bid after consistent disappointing polling performances
  • As well as this, the ex-Governor and corporate billionaire Michael Bloomberg announced his candidacy run on November 24th. This was followed by rapid spending of his own personal fortune into his run, with the promise that he will spend more of his own wealth to support his bid, rather than relying on fundraising.

 

Novembers Winners:

Bernie Sanders – The month of November saw Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders regain his place as second in the race, with the almost immediate drop off of Elizabeth Warrens rise in September and October. Sanders continued his consistent polling as the leader in most major policy areas, as well as with the younger and more animated demographic of voters. This energy was shown once again in a packed Minnesota rally, in which Bernie was accompanied by fellow progressive congresswoman Ilhan Omar, which again highlighted the grassroots support of the Sanders campaign, which no other candidate can compete with.

In a November Ipsos poll, the majority of both independents and registered Democrats viewed Sanders as the best with dealing with the issues of the ‘environment’, ‘immigration’, ‘healthcare’ and jobs. However, once again Sanders still trailed significantly behind Biden on the issue of ‘beating Trump’, a big issue for many Democrats.

The positives for the Sanders campaign are that the core of his base is showing no signs of moving, compared to the less stable bases of candidates like Elizabeth Warren. However, the same could be said of Joe Biden’s support, and with only around 20% of consistent support for Sanders, the campaign will still rely on other candidates dropping in support if they hope to win the overall nomination.

Pete Buttigieg – It was a good month of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who made a huge poll jump from 7% to 11%, including many polls suggesting a lead in Iowa, which has substantial historical significance as the first polling state. This rise, seen most notably after a lively performance during the fifth Democratic debate, also led to a spike in media attention for Buttigieg, which is a favourable sign for any campaign. A lot of this growth comes from the demographics of older white middle-class voters, who are perhaps considering jumping ship from the sleepy Joe Biden camp.

However, with less than 5% support base from the 18-34 age bracket, and less than 10% support from Latino and African-American groups, this is perhaps a worrying sign for the longevity of his campaign. As well as this, his ‘moderate’ positions on healthcare, education and foreign policy were met with significant criticisms from more progressive Democratic politicians such as Warren, Ocasio-Cortez and Gabbard.

Overall, a solid week for the Indiana mayor, with a dark horse run seeming more possible than it may have done a few months ago. However, time will tell whether this is simply another flash in the pan, or whether Buttigieg has a shot at usurping one of the three front-runners.

Andrew Yang – The month of November has been a positive one for start up entrepreneur Andrew Yang, seeing him arguably move out of the region of fringe ‘meme’ candidate, into a more respectable and recognisable place at 6th in the polling rankings. Despite his relative anonymity before entering the race, the viral success of Yang’s humour, and popular proposal of the ‘Freedom Dividend’ (a monthly payment of $1000 to each American citizen), developed Yang’s nickname as the ‘internets favourite candidate’.

It has been these fans, or the ‘yang gang’, who have successfully propelled Yang to all Democratic debates. Given this progress, it is understandable to see why Yang has had a good month, but he is still far short of any numbers that would give him a real shot at the nomination.     

Novembers Losers

Joe Biden – Commentators on the Joe Biden campaign may be beginning to worry about sounding like broken clocks, with another month of almost identical performance. Biden makes a series of low energy, rambling appearances in public, including his monthly confusing gaffes made on the debate stage.  For this month, these gaffes included claims that “the only African American female senator” had endorsed him, despite being mere metres away from an African American female senator who quite definitively disagreed.

This was followed by a cringeworthy comment about the need to “punch and punch” the culture of domestic violence, which was said in such a sleepy and dazed manner that it would make even the defence of irony rendered futile. Despite this, once again, there seemed little decline in Biden’s overall polling numbers, which leads us closer and closer to the potential hell of a zombified Biden vs Trump nightmare election.

Amy Klobuchar – Finally, the Minnesota Senator rounds off the list for Novembers losers, with debate performances that managed to move her from the category of mediocre but unnoteworthy, to that of mediocre but condescendingly unlikeable. It was said by Elizabeth Warren back in the August debate that it seemed that some candidates wished to run for president just to tell people what they couldn’t do. This seemed true of Klobuchar during this debate, who’s talking points ripped out of a Republican handbook were somehow made even worse by the dull tone in which they were espoused. This, mixed with no other events of particular note, means that Klobuchar’s current standing of 2.2% may even sink lower in the coming months.

Novembers Mixed Bag

Elizabeth Warren – The month of November saw a drop off in support for Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, from her rapid growth in support in September and October to a more modest third place at around 16%. This came after a more subdued performance in the fifth Democratic debate, followed by many criticisms after her apparent backtrack on the healthcare policy of ‘Medicare for all’, arguably alienating some of her more progressive potential voters. However, Warren has still cemented her place amongst the clear contenders in the primary, and continues to grow her name recognition, a task that is essential for any aspiring candidate. As well as this, her flagship ‘wealth tax’ policy continues to poll at around 63%, including a record 57% with Republican voters. This shows that Warren is still holding the nations interests, with her supporters hoping that her November slump is more of an outlier than a trend.

Kamala Harris – Despite its initial buzz, it seems that the campaign of California Senator Kamala Harris is stuck in a slow freefall into obscurity, and November did not seem to disprove this. Much like the previous few months, the Harris campaign saw another steady decrease in the polls, as more and more potential votes seem to be haemorrhaged to the more exciting campaigns of Warren and Buttigieg. However, whilst November may have by no means seen huge growth for Kamala, her debate performance was strong enough to maintain her current position, and perhaps delay her the fate of her fellow ex-candidate Beto O’Rourke, who’s campaign plunged into obscurity. Overall, the month of November gives the Harris campaign time to re-organise at best, or delay its inevitable destruction at worst.

 

Polls used

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2020-primaries/democratic/national/

https://morningconsult.com/2020-democratic-primary/

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2020/president/us/2020_democratic_presidential_nomination-6730.html#polls

Click to access Topline%20Reuters%202020%20Election%20Tracker%2011%2004%202019%20(002).pdf

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/polls/iowa/

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