Biden Leads Warren In Massachusetts In New Poll

A new poll shows the former Vice-President leading Senator Elizabeth Warren in her home state.

Well here’s a surprise, a new poll shows former Vice-President Joe Biden leading Elizabeth Warren in her home state of Massachusetts:

Former Vice President Joe Biden is leading the 2020 primary field among likely Democratic voters in Massachusetts, a new Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll has found.

Biden had 22 percent support in the survey, released on Tuesday, followed by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren at 10 percent,

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., at 8 percent, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders at 6 percent. Just over 40 percent of voters said they were still undecided.

While Warren enjoys a high favorability rating among likely Democratic primary voters (71 percent), her lagging homestate support may reflect the thinking of voters who are looking ahead to the general election, according to Suffolk University Political Research Center director David Paleologos, who oversaw the poll.

“I think it’s the perception that [Biden] can win, primarily,” he said. “It’s not that Democrats don’t like her. They do like her, by a wide margin.”

“If [voters] don’t see a candidate that’s able to remove Trump, that’s going to impact that candidate’s viability in the primary,” Paleologos said.

Warren’s presidential bid has been gaining momentum nationally in surveys as she has focused on detailing her policy positions on a range of issues, from breaking up big tech to filibuster reform. Last week, Warren issued a jobs plan intended to boost the US green energy capacity, and traveled to Michigan, a state Trump won in 2016, to pitch the idea to voters. The plan even drew praise from Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.

But Biden has sustained a lead in the polls that started before he jumped into the race. Recent national polls show him holding double-digit leads over the rest of the huge presidential primary field, and he’s leading in several early states, including New Hampshire, where an April Suffolk/Globe poll found him leading with 20 percent of voter support.

“He has both experience as well as, I think, the most balanced view on a way forward,” one participant in the poll, Mark Engelter, told the Globe in an interview.

“I love Elizabeth Warren here in Massachusetts,” the 50-year-old from West Roxbury said. “But I feel that she’s also a lightning rod in a way that she probably doesn’t intend, and I’m not sure she has broad enough appeal to really run effectively on a national level.”

Meanwhile, the poor showing for Sanders could be a sign of how far left the Democratic primary field has moved in the years since 2016. Once alone in his support for things like Medicare-for-All and tuition free college among Democratic primary candidates, he now finds himself with plenty of company in a field of two dozen candidates.

“I think that’s taken a little bit of the glitter away from Sanders,” Paleologos said.

If Elizabeth Warren was going to lead in any state, one would expect that it would ber home state, where she’s won statewide elections twice. In 2012, for example, she defeated Senator Scott Brown by seven percentage points, representing roughly a 200,000 vote margin. Six years later she was re-elected by more than a 24 point margin representing a 675,000 vote margin. To find her trailing Biden by twelve points in this early test of a race that is less than a year away is, as I said rather surprising.

One explanation for this, of course, is that it’s a reflection of the fact that Massachusetts Democrats would prefer to keep her as their Senator rather than as President. We often see this phenomenon in polling of a candidate’s home state in a primary. It’s also possible, though, that Massachusetts Democrats are simply reflecting the preference that has been expressed in polling at the national level that shows voters are more concerned with finding a candidate who can beat Donald Trump in the fall and that Democrats in Massachusetts currently believe that Biden is the man for the job. In that sense, that puts them on the same page as Democrats nationally

FILED UNDER: Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Politicians, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook


  1. Twve says:

    Liz Warren is the bees’ knees.

  2. Modulo Myself says:

    Going to be genuinely weird to have Biden and Trump running against each other and everyone pretending that Biden isn’t following the same slope of mental decline as Trump. Trump can’t see McCain’s name without needing tranquilizers and Biden is going to riffing about curing cancer or whatever random thought flickers through his brain. It would be way easier if we would admit that this election is for The Olds, for their vanities and discomforts and the people talking to them on the television and telling them things they need to know.

  3. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    …it’s a reflection of the fact that Massachusetts Democrats would prefer to keep her as their Senator rather than as President.

    I, too, would rather see her as a Senator. Personally I love that she is an actual honest-to-goodness policy wonk and not a phony like Paul Ryan. But that is never going to sell to the American people. Republicans can take one thing from her policy and twist it up so that it makes a misleading bumper-sticker. When it takes her 1/2 an hour to explain the truth…she has lost.

  4. Gustopher says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: have you seen any of her town halls? I listened to one last week or so, it it reminded me of how great she is at communicating.

    She’s had a problem with letting Trump define her, and taking his bait, but I think/hope she learned from that after the DNA thing. She’s not a counterpuncher, she’s not going to take him down by playing his game. If she stays focused, she is awesome at explaining big things simply and quickly.

  5. SenyorDave says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: She’s very smart and I suspect that there is a not insignificant portion of the American public, especially the male portion, who would be inclined to be against her for that reason. She is my number one choice largely because she understands economic policy so well, but policy does not win presidential elections.
    I don’t think I could take six months of Pocahontas references. But I guess no matter who runs against Trump it will be six months of gutter politics.

  6. Gromitt Gunn says:

    I find it very interesting that Bernie is only polling at 6 percent in a state that borders Vermont.

  7. Sleeping Dog says:

    I’ve been on the anyone but Biden and Bernie bandwagon all along. The idea of Biden being the nominee is depressing (Bernie is done, he just won’t acknowledge it). Please Warren, Harris, someone breakout.

    Yeah, Biden is going to work with Mitch McConnell.

  8. Gustopher says:


    I don’t think I could take six months of Pocahontas references. But I guess no matter who runs against Trump it will be six months of gutter politics.

    So long as Warren doesn’t engage with it, I could be ok with a Trump campaign that only appeals to the already Trumpy.

    Does “Pocahontas” resonate with anyone who doesn’t base their politics on pissing off liberals? Does it make the Trumpy people any more likely to vote? I’m guessing no and no.

    In fact, I would almost want Warren to deliberately restart it every time Trump starts talking about anything else. A nice human interest story about her genealogy, and how the one-drop rule led to lots of Okies overestimating their Native American heritage, and then Trump won’t discuss the economy for a few weeks and his campaign is nothing but juvenile insults.

    Poke Trump’s need to insult, then ignore for a month while talking about issues, then repeat.

  9. Ken_L says:

    The extent to which polls are apparently driving voting intentions is a real problem. “I’d like to support X but it looks like Biden has the best chance of beating Trump so I’ll vote for him instead” is not a healthy way to choose a nominee. This is especially true when Biden still only has about a third of the vote, meaning he’s by no means a wildly popular figure.

    Democrats really need to get to grips with the prospect of nominating a man who’ll turn 80 midway through his first term of office. Are they seriously going to nominate him for re-election in 2024? If not, what’s the game plan? Have another contested primary starting 2022 with Republicans gleefully mocking the lame duck in the White House?

  10. An Interested Party says:

    It would be way easier if we would admit that this election is for The Olds…

    Hopefully this is the last presidential battle of the Baby Boomers (even though Biden was born in 1942, still, close enough)…

  11. Kylopod says:


    Does “Pocahontas” resonate with anyone who doesn’t base their politics on pissing off liberals?

    The name-calling may not, but the narrative of “entitled white woman pretending to be a minority” may well, if the media chooses to make an issue out of it. It plays into some of the worst stereotypes of white liberal academics.

    Gutter politics is always the tip of the iceberg in building a narrative against a candidate. “Crooked Hillary” resonated because there has long been a contingent of the population who view the Clintons as hopelessly corrupt. The Swiftboating of John Kerry dovetailed with the “windsurfing” ads in an attempt to paint the decorated war veteran as a wimp. “Invented the Internet” was part of a string of unfair and distorted stories that painted Al Gore as a liar.

    “Pocahontos,” I assume, will play a similar role in creating a negative narrative against Warren. In a way I think the conventional reaction of saying Trump is being a racist plays into his hands, because it gives him and his supporters an opportunity to claim they’re merely mocking her racial condescension; they’re essentially turning her into a Rachel Dolezal type, and I feel that the media have not done much to push back against that narrative.

  12. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Gustopher: Everyone looks good talking to “their” people. How is she going to play when she walks into a Black church full of black women already suspicious of white liberal women who somehow end up as the main beneficiary of every piece of federal gov’t initiative sold as helping black people recover from generations of slavery and Jim Crow.

    She’s not going to have black women or men eating from her hand. No “it” factor. She’s great with white liberals… which, to a white liberal, I guess means she’s good with everyone

  13. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Actually, Warren has done quite well when campaigning in the African-American community. She listens, is empathetic and addresses issues that are of concern to this community.

  14. Lounsbury says:

    @Modulo Myself: Charming Ageism. Really charming.