by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
For all the noise and drama of the 2020 Democratic primary—all the talk of a “diverse” field of candidates and the rise of the party’s progressive wing—it might turn out that the old white guy wins the whole thing easily. The old white guy in this case is Joe Biden, not Bernie Sanders, who needs to win the upcoming Iowa caucuses, and probably the New Hampshire primary, to stave off an inevitable Biden nomination.
A pair of polls released Monday made the stakes clear heading into Iowa, now less than three weeks away. A Monmouth University poll confirmed that the Democratic field has narrowed to four frontrunners: Biden, Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Biden leads the pack with 24% and Sanders follows with 18%. Both candidates gained five points compared to Monmouth’s November poll, while both Warren and Buttigieg lost support.
Meanwhile, a Washington Post-Ipsos poll found Biden is by far the most favored candidate among black Americans, whose support plays a significant role in the Democratic nomination. A whopping 48% of such respondents say they support Biden, while just 20% support Sanders, and no other candidate had double-digit support.
All this reflects the Real Clear Politics poll average, which currently shows Biden with a nearly ten-point lead, and confirms what’s been apparent for months now, ever since Warren’s support began a precipitous decline in October: if Biden can win Iowa and New Hampshire, the nominating contest might well be over before ballots are even cast in Nevada and South Carolina at the end of February.