Steve M over at No More Mr. Nice Blog wonders if smart polling could puncture the emerging narrative in the media that Joe Biden will win the Democratic Party nomination in 2020. It’s a good question.
Steve is riffing off a recent Michelle Goldberg column in The Times, in which Goldberg cites voters in past elections who wanted to go with the candidate who inspired them but picked nominees like Kerry, Romney, McCain, etc., in the interest of “electability” — and lost anyway.
It’s early days, as we all know, but I’ll admit I panic sometimes at the thought of the party nominating Biden, who is as inspiring as a bucket of wallpaper paste (to me, at least). I mean, I’ll vote for him, obviously, but I worry about turnout in that scenario. I don’t know anyone who is enthusiastic about Biden, though I’m sure such people exist.
But I do know Democrats who say they’re supporting him because they think he’s the most likely to beat Trump. As Steve says, the longer the media narrative that Biden has it in the bag persists, the more likely it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. So, Steve asks:
Is it possible to poll this phenomenon? After asking Democrats which candidate they’d vote for, could a pollster please ask them who their favorite candidate is? Or find some other way to determine their preferences if they weren’t trying to second-guess everyone else?
It’s a good question. Yes, it’s too early to worry about who’s going to win the nomination, a lot can change, the debates can overturn the table, Rudy Giuliani was polling #1 in the GOP primary at this point in 2007, blah blah blah. But since we political junkies are doomed to torture ourselves with these questions, and since polling outfits are already gauging support, I wish they’d ask that question.