Biden and Warren Separate From the Pack in Latest WSJ/NBC Poll

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaking with supporters at a community event in Marshalltown, Iowa on July 4, 2019. (Flickr)

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaking with supporters at a community event in Marshalltown, Iowa on July 4, 2019. (Flickr)

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) are leading in the polls ahead of the Democratic primary, according to the latest Wall Street Journal (WSJ)/NBC News poll released on September 17. 

Biden maintains his lead at 31 percent with Warren trailing at 26 percent, followed by Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) at 14 percent. All the other candidates polled below double-digits. This differs from a WSJ/NBC poll just two months earlier, which indicated a much tighter race between Biden, Warren, Sanders, and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA). 

While Biden has led the polls since his entrance into the race, Warren has only seen a surge in the polls recently. This new poll bodes well for the Warren campaign, which has sought to garner the support of the progressive wing of the party most commonly associated with Sanders. 

In fact, Warren dominates the polls from self-described “liberal democrats,” who favor her by 17 points to Biden and Sanders. Biden still commands a lead of 42 percent with “moderate/conservative democrats” as compared to Warren’s 15 percent. Yet Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted this poll alongside Democratic pollster Peter Hart, sees Warren’s upward trend in the polls as an indication of her becoming “a broadly accepted choice” among the field of candidates.

Additionally, Warren garners the most enthusiastic support of the Democratic hopefuls. 35 percent of voters feel “enthusiastic” to vote for Warren, followed by Sanders at 25 percent and Biden at 23 percent, according to the WSJ/NBC poll. In addition, 70 percent of voters are either “enthusiastic” or “comfortable” with Warren as the presidential nominee, which beats out Biden and Sanders. 

Biden continues his stronghold on the African American vote with 49 percent prioritizing him, followed by Warren at 13 percent and Sanders at 5 percent. His campaign emphasized his ties to former President Barack Obama’s legacy. This is part of the Biden campaign’s strategy, as 69 percent of Democratic primary voters have a “very positive” view of Obama, according to the WSJ/NBC poll. 

Senator Kamala Harris fell by six percent in the July WSJ/NBC poll. This underscores the downward trajectory that the Harris campaign experienced after riding the high of her first debate performance. 

Analysts feel conflicted about the importance of these early polls. Republican pollster Bill McInturff stated, “The race is more solid for the front-runners than it was in July.” On the other hand, Hart commented that “what we see in September isn’t what we see in December.”