by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Who has the best chance of winning the nomination?
1. Former Vice President Joe Biden (July ranking: 2)
Biden has led national polls since he launched his campaign in April.
His advantage has eroded since then, but it is still significant. The former vice president is roughly 10 points ahead of his nearest challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), in the polling averages of both RealClearPolitics (RCP) and data site FiveThirtyEight.
Biden’s support has proved more resilient than many observers predicted, despite halting debate performances, attacks from rivals and smears from President Trump. …
… 2. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) (July ranking: 4)
When Sanders had a heart attack in October, it could have spelled disaster for a candidacy that was already in danger of being eclipsed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
But Sanders bounced back with vigor, delivering an impressive debate performance in Ohio, his first major appearance after his heart attack, while Warren has faltered. …
… 3. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) (July ranking: 1)
Warren was the clear front-runner as recently as October, when she led polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, and challenged Biden for the national lead.
Her surge provoked scrutiny — and fierce attacks from her rivals. The result has been a dip from those halcyon days.
The Massachusetts senator’s position on “Medicare for All” played a central part in her decline. …
… 4. South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (July ranking: 5)
Buttigieg has been the one big surprise of the campaign so far.
The 37-year-old mayor of a medium-sized Midwestern city has become one of the Big Four contesting the nomination, even as high-profile senators such as Harris and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) have exited.
Buttigieg’s appeal is built partly on his erudite media appearances. He offers Democratic voters a similar brand of centrism to Biden but in a more youthful, vigorous vessel.