There’s One New Poll That Proves Democrats Would Be Nuts to Nominate Elizabeth Warren
Tonight, the only Democrats still with a chance to be their party’s presidential nominee will take the stage in a joint television appearance (let’s please not call these charades a “debate”). The growing conventional wisdom is that Senator Elizabeth Warren has an opportunity to become the legitimate favorite if she outperforms former Vice President Joe Biden.
While the media’s conventional wisdom, especially in the Trump era, is often wrong, there is a strong case to be made for Warren being the candidate who will gain the most traction as the field continues to shrink. Because she is ideologically where the most energetic and progressive members of her party are, and she provides a chance at “history” in becoming the first female president, she is obviously the opponent (now that Kamala Harris has faded) Biden should fear most, especially if she can get him early enough into a one-on-one matchup.
I have previously written that both the data and basic logic make it obvious that Biden has the best chance to defeat President Donald Trump next year, and that it might not even be close. Currently, in the national polls Biden beats Trump by an average of over 11 points. For comparison, Warren has him by about 5 points.
Obviously, as the 2016 election proved, we do not select our president via a tabulation of the national popular vote. To be absolutely assured of a victory in the Electoral College, Warren, partly because she runs up such huge margins in liberal states like California, New York, Illinois and Massachusetts where Trump can’t even dream of winning, would probably need to win the national popular vote by at least 5-6 points to be confident in victory.
Because we are so far out from the general election, because polling was supposedly catastrophically wrong in 2016 (it wasn’t, really), and because Hillary Clinton led Trump by huge percentages just a couple of months prior to losing that election, I fully realize that few Democrats will be convinced by pure numbers to follow their brains instead of their hearts here. But the reality is that, based on the current political environment, it would be a colossal mistake for them to nominate Warren, especially when Biden, at least right now, is so viable.
There is one new poll in particular which proves this case about as well as it could. It is an Emerson College poll of New Hampshire general election voters which shows Biden beating Trump there by ten, with Warren losing to Trump by two.
Here are the principal reasons why this poll should be taken very seriously by Democrats who really want to beat Trump, and the Biden campaign should be screaming the results from every mountain top they can find:
- Emerson, which is located next door to New Hampshire, had a very good record in the 2018 midterms and this was a poll with a large sample size.
- New Hampshire is a swing state that could play a significant role in who wins a close election.
- New Hampshire is next door to Warren’s home state of Massachusetts, even sharing some of the same media outlets. They know Warren exceedingly well there, while Biden has no real connection at all to the area.
- A twelve-point disparity between how Biden and Warren do against Trump, within the exact same polling sample, is a huge indication that Biden is fundamentally more appealing to swing voters than she is. This is even before Trump has really hammered her continually on the “Fauxcahontas” issue, which I believe still has significant harm to be done to her among voters who haven’t heard about it yet.
- Not only does Trump outpoll Warren (she is the ONLY candidate who loses to him in this survey), but Trump is able to get to the critical number of 51%, which indicates that this isn’t just a situation where Warren would still beat him if undecided voters broke her way.
Obviously this is only one poll in one small state. But the unique characteristics of Trump make these numbers far more significant than they would have been in even say 2016. Opinions about the president are incredibly hardened in both directions and, unlike in 2016, there is literally no one who can still imagine Trump magically becoming something different from what we thought he was.
It is abundantly clear that well over 50% of the electorate want to vote for someone other than Trump. As of today, effectively every one of those people is willing to vote for Biden, but that is obviously not the case with Warren. That’s why nominating her would give Trump a chance to get off the mat and, especially if the economy stays strong, a very real chance of winning re-election.
As is so often the case in this screwed-up age, perception and reality are running in opposite directions here. The case for Biden’s electability advantage, especially over Warren, has never been stronger, and yet a new CNN poll indicates that Democratic voters who value electability most are somehow starting to perceive Warren as having just as good a chance of beating Trump.
Of course, as I have also written before, no one in the news media has even the slightest incentive to fix this gross misperception because a Biden nomination and presidency would be bad for business. For those who actually care about making sure there is no Trump second term, Democrats nominating Warren instead of Biden would be like passing up an easy slam dunk for the chance to shoot a three-point shot with a hand their face.
It’s just not worth the risk.
John Ziegler is a senior columnist for Mediaite. He hosts a weekly podcast focusing on news media issues and is documentary filmmaker. You can follow him on Twitter at @ZigManFreud or email him at [email protected]
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This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.