New Polls Show Biden Still Comfortably Leading In Democratic Race

Two new polls released today indicate that earlier suggestions that the race for the Democratic nomination had shifted were incorrect.

A group of new polling shows that the changes in the race for the Democratic nomination that seemed to be developing on Monday with the release of a poll from Monmouth University are apparently not real and that the race remains where it basically has been since the second debate last month. The most recent evidence for this comes from two new polls released today from USA Today/Suffolk University and Quinnipiac University:

Two new polls show Joe Biden more than a dozen points ahead of his nearest rivals in the 2020 Democratic primary — further fortifying the former vice president’s front-runner status after an apparent outlier survey put his campaign on the defensive earlier this week.

Thirty-two percent of likely Democratic voters favor Biden as the party’s pick to take on President Donald Trump in next year’s election, according to a USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll released Wednesday.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren ranks in second place with 14 percent, followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders with 12 percent. South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and California Sen. Kamala Harris both received 6 percent. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who polled at 3 percent, was the only other candidate to garner more than 2 percent support.

Biden similarly dominated a Quinnipiac University poll published later Wednesday morning, again achieving 32 percent support among Democratic voters and independent voters who lean Democratic.

Warren directly trails Biden in the Quinnipiac primary rankings with 19 percent, followed by Sanders at 15 percent, Harris at 7 percent and Buttigieg at 5 percent. Yang received 3 percent support, with no other candidate polling at more than 1 percent.

Wednesday’s pair of polls are likely to bolster morale among Biden’s campaign team and deflect questions about his so-far steady standing in the crowded Democratic primary that emanated from a Monmouth University poll released Monday.


Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth poll, acknowledged in a statement on Wednesday that “as other national polls of [the] 2020 Democratic presidential race have been released this week, it is clear that the Monmouth University Poll published Monday is an outlier.”

Murray said he “understood when we released our poll that the picture it painted diverged from others,” but added: “In the end, we must put out the numbers we have. They should always be viewed in the context of what other polls are saying, not only as it applies to the horse race, but also for our understanding of the issues that motivate voters in their decision-making process.”

In addition to these two new polls, other polling released since Monday shows that the race remains stable, and certainly does not show the kind of radical change the Monmouth poll suggested:

  • The latest Economist/YouGov poll, which itself has been something of an outlier for months now, has former Vice-President Biden at 25%. followed by Senator Elizabeth Warren at 21%, Senator Bernie Sanders at 18%, Senator Kamala Harris at 8%, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 5%, and a four-way tie at 2% consisting of Senator Cory Booker, former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang. All other candidates are under 2%.
  • The latest Emerson College poll paints a better picture for the Biden campaign, showing the former Vice-President at 31%, Sanders at 24%, Warren at 15%, Harris at 10%, Andrew Yang at 4%, Buttigieg, Booker, O’Rourke, and Gabbard tied at 3%, and all other candidates a 1% or below;
  • The latest HarrisX/Hill poll has Biden at 30%, Sanders at 17%, Warren at 14%, Harris and Buttigieg tied at 4%, O’Rourke at 3%, Booker and Yang at 2%, and all other candidates at or below 1%;
  • Finally, the latest Politico/Morning Consult poll has Biden at 33%, Sanders at 20%, Warren at 15%, Harris at 8%, Buttigieg at 5%, Booker and O’Rourke tied at 3%, Yang at 2%, and all other candidates at or below 1%

Looking at the RealClearPolitics average, we find the same stability:

  1. Joe Biden —- 28.9% (+11.8 point spread)
  2. Bernie Sanders — 17.1%
  3. Elizabeth Warren — 16.5%
  4. Kamala Harris —- 7.0 %
  5. Pete Buttigieg — 4.6%
  6. Andrew Yang — 2.6%
  7. Beto O’Rourke — 2.4%
  8. Cory Booker — 2.4%
  9. Tulsi Gabbard — 1.4%
  10. Julian Castro — 1.1%
  11. All other candidates below 1%

We can also see this in the RCP chart:

All this new polling shows that those who were skeptical of the Monmouth poll released on Monday, including yours truly, were correct. As the director of the poll himself has admitted, that poll is now clearly shown to be an outlier. This means that the race for the Democratic nomination remains in basically the same place it has been since just after the second debate in July, with Biden on top, Sanders and Warren fighting it out for second place, Harris slipping in the polls to the point where she seems like she’s in third/fourth behind Warren and Sanders having lost the bounce she got after the first debate, Pete Buttigieg on the bubble, and the other candidates becoming increasingly irrelevant to the overall race.

These polls are important for another reason of more immediate concern to many of the candidates, the question of eligibility for the third debate in September. As things stand, there are only ten candidates who have met both the polling and fundraising criteria set forth by the Democratic National Committee. Going into this week there were two candidates, billionaire Tom Steyer, and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who have been on the bubble, Steyer needed to hit 2% or better in at least one more poll recognized by the DNC while Gabbard needed two such polls. Other candidates, including Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, were even further out of the running for a debate invitation. None of the polling released this week has helped any of these candidates and, absent a poll released before the close of business today, these candidates will be excluded from the debate, which for the moment appears to consist of ten candidates. This could mean that we’re nearing a new round of withdrawals from the race before or after Labor Day.

FILED UNDER: 2020 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Andrew says:


    The man was third place, if that, in 2008. Why they are running someone who was worse than Hilary…just shows how tone deaf the Democratic Party is.
    Vice Presidency should not automatically qualify you. Otherwise Cheney would be qualified. That’s scary.

  2. Mister Bluster says:

    Why they are running someone…

    Who is “they” in this sentence?

  3. Neil Hudelson says:


    Dick Cheney was qualified. He was evil, but he was qualified. So is Biden, as are most candidates in the race.

    We have two ways of looking at who is qualified:

    1. Constitutionally. Are they a natural born citizen, and are they over 35 years of age? Congratulations! They are qualified to be President should they win.

    2. Qualitatively. Do they have a history that would demonstrate they have the ability to manage a sprawling bureaucracy, experience to navigate the fine art of horse trading, or policy ideas that can invigorate a majority of Americans, while recognizing that no experience ultimately prepares you for this specific job? That’s up to each voter to assess, but I would say that a majority of the candidates possess at least two of these qualities. Williamson, Yang, Steyer, and Messam, no. The rest? Yeah, probably.

    As an aside, I refreshed myself on who was in the race and re-discovered Joe Sestak is running. I think at this point even Wayne Messam has a higher profile than him. It’s quite an achievement to be the least memorable person among a field of “who?”

  4. michael reynolds says:

    Biden is definitely in the lead, but I’m not sure how comfortable I’d be with the support of just a third of potential voters given his name recc.

    Sanders looks strong in NH. Biden seems to have SC and looks strong in Nevada as well. Iowa as usual is basically impossible to poll. That is a pretty good position for Biden, especially if he kicks off with a win in Iowa. He could take Iowa, dismiss NH as Bernie’s backyard, take Nevada and South Carolina. If that’s the case (and obvious caveats apply) the focus will be on ‘who can stop Joe?’

    People will be looking at who came in second in NV and SC. A few days after SC: the mother lode. California, Texas, Massachusetts, Colorado and North Carolina. If Bernie’s in second place Biden wins walking away. If Warren (or Harris) is second, we may still have a fight.

    From Iowa to Super Tuesday (part 1) is just 30 days. That’s very tight. All this proportional voting makes it easy for also-rans to keep on running till the cash runs out.

    I just hope we get a good debate in a couple of weeks, with all the 1%ers gone. Let’s see Biden vs. Warren.

  5. charon says:

    Who is the most “electable” may seem important, but taking back the Senate is essential to have a President able to do anything, even to get Cabinet members confirmed let alone sign legislation.

    So, who is best for coattails and enthusiasm and helping the downballot races?

    If the President’s dementia becomes as progressed and visible as I expect it to be by the time the actual voting starts, the Presidential race may start looking more like a gimme.

  6. Andrew says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    The bare minimum of being 35 years of age or older and/or has shown the ability to manage/govern really does not mean much. At all.
    Yes, it does mean they can run for President of the the United States. That does not mean they are qualified to be so.
    Biden has lost in the past, over and over. If he wasn’t chosen by Obama, he would be just above Joe Sestak in the political world.
    (Both ironically enough from my area. So I still hear about Joe.)
    They, the Democratic Party should learn from history. Prop up the politicians that represent a more progressive agenda. And stop pushing centrist corporate Democrats.

  7. Mister Bluster says:

    They, the Democratic Party should learn from history. Prop up the politicians that represent a more progressive agenda. And stop pushing centrist corporate Democrats.

    I am curious about how centrist corporate Democrats are being pushed by the Democratic Party.
    I am also interested to know which current progressive Democratic candidate can win back the Obama voters who cast ballots for Trump.

  8. Kathy says:

    A bit off topic:

    A story on, states that “Trump, sources say, is searching for an accomplishment to run on in 2020 — and realizing time is running short to fulfill some of the key promises he made to voters in 2016.”

    Seriously, it’s the Democrat’s race to loose.

  9. Tyrell says:

    “apparently not real”: We have seen it before. We will see it again. Often these phony polls have a purpose and strategy behind them.

  10. Gustopher says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Who is “they” in this sentence?

    Joe Biden and his campaign staff, I assume. That’s the only they who seems to have that power.

  11. Mister Bluster says:

    @Gustopher:..Joe Biden and his campaign staff,..
    My thinking as well.

  12. Scott F. says:

    @michael reynolds:
    You buried your lede, michael.

    The first post-winnowing debate is imminent. Gaming out the early primary states is premature.

  13. michael reynolds says:

    @Scott F.:
    One of the first bets I ever placed was on the Superbowl at the start of the season. I never take safe bets because the pay-off isn’t worth it. As long as I’m not risking anything painful I’ll take a flyer over a safer bet. I’ll play a long odds game over blackjack – blackjack’s work and if you’re lucky you what, make a few hundred?

  14. Mister Bluster says:

    Joe Biden’s Composite War Story That Never Happened
    “This is the God’s truth,” Biden had said as he told the story. “My word as a Biden.”
    Except almost every detail in the story appears to be incorrect. Based on interviews with more than a dozen U.S. troops, their commanders and Biden campaign officials, it appears as though the former vice president has jumbled elements of at least three actual events into one story of bravery, compassion and regret that never happened.

    This will not help a Biden for President Campaign.