- Just over half of Democratic voters in a new Insider poll said they thought Joe Biden would beat President Donald Trump in a general election, a smaller share than Biden saw in past polls.
- Since Insider began polling on the question in August, respondents who said they planned to vote in their state’s Democratic primary or caucus have shown a high level of trust in Biden’s “electability,” or his perceived ability to beat Trump in a general election.
- Biden’s latest plummet in the poll, however, could reflect uncertainty among Democratic voters about the strength of his electability.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Just over half of Democratic voters in a new Insider poll said they thought former Vice President Joe Biden would beat President Donald Trump in a general election. That level of support in the poll, conducted in the aftermath of Biden’s disastrous showing in the Iowa caucuses, was down from an average of 64% over the past six months.
Biden has campaigned on a promise to return America to the pre-Trump status quo, an era Biden hopes to lead while seeking moderate Democratic politics and bipartisanship.
The latest poll suggests Democratic voters have less faith in Biden’s ability to beat Trump than at any time before. For the past six months, Insider has been conducting a series of SurveyMonkey Audience polls to gauge Americans’ opinions on 2020 Democratic primary. You can download every poll here, down to the individual respondent data. (Read more about how the Insider Democratic primary tracker works here).
The most recent poll was conducted Saturday and Sunday and had 1,013 respondents, 414 of whom said they were registered to vote and would most likely do so in the Democratic primary.
That poll was conducted in the aftermath of Iowa caucuses, in which Biden came in a distant fourth, and a Friday-evening debate in which the former vice president all but conceded the state of New Hampshire in his opening salvo. It found that 50.1% of Democratic respondents believed Biden would beat the current president head-to-head.
Though that level is still quite high relative to other candidates, Biden has presented himself as the person with the name recognition and experience to defeat Trump and has made this argument the centerpiece of his campaign. Across 18 Insider/SurveyMonkey Audience polls from August to January, 64.3% of Democratic respondents on average said they believed Biden would beat Trump.
Even less than a week before the Iowa caucuses, Biden showed strong “electability” numbers, with 64.1% of Democratic voters saying he would beat Trump in November, according to Insider data.
The percentage of Democrats who specifically said they thought the former vice president would lose also jumped in the latest poll compared with his overall average; over the past six months, just 22% of Democrats aware of Biden said they thought he’d lose to Trump. In the most recent poll, that registered as 31.2%, a 9-point jump.
Biden’s support largely remained steady through the last quarter of 2019 even amid a reshuffling that saw Pete Buttigieg begin surging in Iowa, Sen. Elizabeth Warren beginning to slide, and Sen. Bernie Sanders coming up with a surprising second wind.
The Iowa caucus results showed Buttigieg just edging out Sanders for first place according to still-disputed allocations of delegates, with Warren in third. But Biden’s catastrophic fourth-place position was largely unforeseen.
The latest Insider poll of a Biden-Trump matchup could merely indicate temporary whiplash from his disappointing Iowa finish, but it could also reflect broad uncertainty among Democratic voters about the strength of Biden’s electability that is unlikely to be alleviated after the New Hampshire primary.
With Biden sliding, Buttigieg appears well-positioned to take the mantle of most electable centrist. He was showing strong support in New Hampshire ahead of Tuesday’s primary.
With Warren’s support dipping, Sanders has become the standard-bearer for progressive Democrats. The data-journalism website FiveThirtyEight projects him winning the New Hampshire primary with 28% of the vote, compared with 23% for Buttigieg.
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- LIVE RESULTS: Buttigieg narrowly leads Sanders in pledged delegates from the controversial Iowa caucus
- Americans under the age of 30 support removing Trump from office by a nearly 3-to-1 ratio
- Impeachment crushed Nixon’s approval ratings, but Clinton emerged unscathed. Here’s how Trump could survive, too.
- POWER RANKING: Here’s who has the best chance of becoming the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee
SurveyMonkey Audience polls from a national sample balanced by census data of age and gender. Respondents are incentivized to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital polling tends to skew toward people with access to the internet. SurveyMonkey Audience doesn’t try to weigh its sample based on race or income. A total of 1,013 respondents were collected February 8-9, 2020, a margin of error plus or minus 3 percentage points with a 95% confidence level.
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