75 Percent of Democrats Happy with Biden

The Tara Reade allegations haven't hurt the presumptive nominee with the party.

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign stop in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

The gang at Morning Consult has an odd take on their latest poll, which they headline “After Watching Biden Deny Reade’s Claims, 1 in 4 Democrats Want a Different Nominee.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s unequivocal denial of Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegation is considered credible by most Democratic voters, according to a new Morning Consult poll that showed a video of his comment, but more than a quarter of the party’s rank and file nonetheless want the presumptive nominee replaced. 

Twenty-six percent of Democratic voters in the May 2-3 survey said the party should select a different candidate for the 2020 general election, while 61 percent said Biden should still be the one to challenge President Donald Trump in November.

Support for replacing Biden atop the ticket was driven by the party’s youngest voters, a group that mostly backed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the Democratic primary and is more likely to view the former vice president with skepticism. Forty percent of Democrats under the age of 45 said the party should pick a different nominee, compared to 15 percent of those ages 45 and older.

Graphically, it looks like this:

The methodology was interesting:

The responses came after respondents were shown a 35-second video clip of Biden’s first interview on the subject, where MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski detailed Reade’s allegation and asked point-blank if he sexually assaulted her. 

Biden’s response was deemed credible by 61 percent of Democrats, but the issue revealed generational and gender lines: Younger Democrats, at 53 percent, were 14 percentage points less likely than their elders to consider Biden’s answer credible and Democratic men (68 percent) were 12 points more likely than Democratic women to believe Biden. 
Among the overall electorate, 41 percent said Biden’s denial was credible, while 38 percent said it was not. 


That 26% of Democrats surveyed want to replace Biden and 19% find his denial less-than-credible would be shocking news if he were previously at 100% enthusiasm among partisans. But, of course, he was not. Basically, the results show us that people who previously didn’t like Biden still don’t like him.

Indeed, I’m actually surprised at how favorable the polling is. While he ultimately ran away with the nomination, he was never at more than 30% or so support when the field was large. He was, though, pretty much everybody’s second choice.

FILED UNDER: 2020 Election, Public Opinion Polls, , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Teve says:

    From the GW Hatchet, written by a reluctant supporter: The Case for Joe Biden

  2. KM says:

    I’m not surprised – we had an abundance of choice this year and it feels like many never really got to register their preference before the field was winnowed down. It’s like going to a fancy restaurant that’s advertised some really good specials…. only to get there and find they’re out of that delicious sounding seafood curry or waygu steak and only have the famous in-house beer-battered snapper fish fry. You came here for the offered choice and were looking forward to something different. After all, you’ve had the fish fry for years now. Nothing really wrong with it but you wanted *more*. Do you get up and leave the restaurant to go hit up McD’s? How about some gas station sushi or sandwich from the vending machine out back – that’s “adventurous” and “not made by a career chef”, right? You wanted different after all!!!

    America’s got the choice of same-old fish fry again or some generic hamberder from a vending machine. It’s not a choice if you have a brain. Does it mean you’re upset you didn’t get the seafood curry and wish you could have? Sure – that’s normal to want what you didn’t get a chance to try. However it doesn’t mean you’re giving the clearly better option or that you’re even dissatisfied with it.

  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    I’m not a fan of Joe and I can think of a dozen reasons that I would want someone else and the Reade allegations wouldn’t make the list as they appear less and less credible. The problem with getting rid of Joe is who would replace him? I doubt that polling would settle on one potential candidate and quite likely no candidate would receive more than 20% approval with a vast number undecided.

    So we’re stuck with Joe. Go Joe. In a comment made when the Reade allegation took flight, I expressed the opinion that November would be a contest between on candidate who had a credible* allegation of sexual misconduct against him vs. a candidate that has multiple credible allegations of sexual misconduct against him. That opinion still stands as nothing that has come out in the last couple of weeks has shifted the conversation.

    * Reporting on Reade’s allegation has raised questions about her veracity and that of her “witnesses,” additionally her cancelling of her interview with Fox leaves the large open question of why did she cancel?

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I am shocked, shocked I tell you!

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: The problem with getting rid of Joe is who would replace him?

    Why… Bernie of course! s//

    her cancelling of her interview with Fox leaves the large open question of why did she cancel?

    My theory is that it’s because it was with Chris Wallace. Wallace does not suffer fools gladly. I fully expect her to soon schedule one with Ingraham or Hannity.

  6. Sleeping Dog says:


    Like I said, no candidate would get more than 20% support.

    My theory is that it’s because it was with Chris Wallace.

    I agree, that is my theory also. Wallace is a conservative, but he is a journalist first and would have questioned her critically. I suspect that in agreeing to the Fox interview, she believed that it would be conducted by Hannity, Ingraham or one of the other Tiny toadies. If now she shows up on one of the Tiny sycophant shows she won’t be believable.

    If she doesn’t subject herself to critical, public questioning, it is likely that this issue will fade from sight. The reason Blassey Ford’s story is so credible is that she subjected herself to close and at times hostile questioning under oath. That it didn’t sink Kavanaugh’s appointment is politics.

  7. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Wallace is a conservative, but he is a journalist first and would have questioned her critically.

    Wallace has stated many times that he’s a registered democrat, and I believe him. A moderate democrat, sure, but someone of his temperament and intellectual fortitude wouldn’t be welcome in today’s GOP.

  8. Michael Reynolds says:

    Spoiled little children wake up on Christmas morning, find they didn’t get the pony they wanted, so they act out like little twats. What’s this piece of shit Nintendo you spent a week of hard work paying for? Waaaah. Pony! Pony!

  9. Blue Galangal says:

    Hopefully we noticed what happened with her emails and we’re getting smarter than the media about not falling for their ratfking. I say hopefully. I donated to Biden last week because of what is clearly a concerted effort to smear his character.

  10. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Neil, I wasn’t aware of that. I suspect then that Wallace is the last Scoop Jackson Democrats.

  11. James Joyner says:

    @Neil Hudelson: @Sleeping Dog: I haven’t watched any of the news networks—or, indeed, television news—regularly in some fifteen years. But the news side of Fox News—whether it was Brit Hume or Bret Baier or Shepard Smith or Chris Wallace—have all been legitimate journalists with integrity in their reporting. Hume is a bit kooky as a commentator, but that’s more a function of age (he’s 76) than it is of politics.

    And Wallace is, after all, Mike Wallace’s son.

  12. senyorDave says:

    It seems like Tara Reade’s case is imploding. Now she says her original complain was she felt uncomfortable. And when she made the complaint to DC police it didn’t name Biden. My guess is that avoided her being cross examined by the police. It just puts it out there. She has too many people advising her that seem to have an interest in causing trouble for Biden.
    At a certain point I hope that every other word out of any Democrat’s mouth if asked about Biden would be “Jean Carroll and 24 other women”. Let’s see the Post and Times do a feature on Jean Carroll’s allegation against Trump, where she kept a piece of evidence, has filed suit against Trump for defamation in response to his claims she is lying, and was very specific about dates and what happened, She seems significantly more credible than Reade, and the accused is on record admitting to sexually assaulting women.

  13. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Another “BUT HER EMAILS” post.

  14. Kathy says:

    Related, a piece on 538 on Never-Trumpers joining the Democratic Party.

    Good, if so, even if they won’t likely provide the decisive vote.

  15. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    A reminder that the current POTUS has admitted to sexual assault, has been credibly accused of assault or harassment by about 25 different women, and is currently fighting at least 2 ongoing, and related, court cases.

  16. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I dropped some cash on the Lincoln Project this afternoon.
    Their latest ad has Trump in an absolute tizzy…

  17. Kathy says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    I saw the ad yesterday. I hope it proves effective on the many worshipers of St. Ronnie of California.

  18. Sleeping Dog says:

    If the never trump repugs want to join the Dem party, then fine, but it would be better that they return to the repugs party and reform the party into something sane. Unfortunately that won’t happen and the Dems will be stuck with them.

  19. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Right now they have zero power and influence in the GOP, while they’d have some power and influence with the Democrats. The math is simple: a little bit of something is better than all of nothing.

    Maybe a thorough defeat of the GOP in November would shock them back to sanity, but who knows. if they are driven by the base, that won’t happen. But if the base shrinks, then maybe the party goes away or gets replaced by something else. I won’t throw a narrative around, because narratives are too convincing, but that’s one possibility.

    Another is a Shadows vs Vorlons kind of division, in which both parties consider everyone in the other party anathema. this could wind up in secession, civil war, or both. Or just protracted political battles where the parties take turns, and ultimately steer the country nowhere.

    I’m hoping Trump is an anomaly the world will get past and regress, to some extent, back to a mean. If Biden wins, I hope he will be gracious in victory. It may not help, but at the very least it will be refreshing after 4 years of Trump the sorest “winner” in the planet.

  20. Kari Q says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Their latest ad


    I’d seen lots of people talking about that ad but hadn’t watched it before. That’s a hard hitting ad.

  21. He’s an awful candidate but Tara Reade’s case is quite weak, and getting weaker by the day. But there’s still enough time before November for Biden to destroy his own chances a million times over, which would make a last-minute Hillary/Cuomo ticket a possibility.

  22. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Wallace has stated many times that he’s a registered democrat

    He is a Democrat because he lives in the District of Columbia, his vote wouldn’t matter if he wasn’t voting in the Democratic Primary.

  23. Kari Q says:


    which would make a last-minute Hillary/Cuomo ticket a possibility.

    *Laughs long and hard.*

    Hillary ain’t running. Not happening. Zero chance.