Game Time For Democrats, Biden Leads

As we head into a very intense period on the Democratic side, former VP Joe Biden enters this stretch in the best shape of all the Democratic candidates.  He has a 10 pt lead nationally, is essentially tied in IA and NH, and has commanding leads in NV and SC.  He has started to rack up significant endorsements, and as we saw with Iowa freshman Rep. Abby Finkenauer campaigning by his side in Iowa this past weekend, he is using them well.  While things can and will change, the advantage right now appears to be with Biden.  Let’s review the upcoming schedule:

Jan 14 – Dem Debate in Iowa

Feb 3 – Iowa Caucus

Feb 7 – Dem Debate in NH

Feb 11 – NH Primary

Feb 19 – Dem Debate in NV

Feb 22 – NV Caucus

Feb 25 – Dem Debate in SC

Feb 29 – SC Primary

March 3 – AL, AR, CA, CO, MA, ME, MN, NC, OK, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA

March 10 – ID, MI, MO, ND, WA

Whoa….yes, this is going to be an intense next two months, all with the backdrop of great volatility in the Middle East, an Impeachment trial, more Trump associates being sentenced to jail and on trial, and the roll out of the President’s budget and legislative agenda.  We offered our thoughts on Iran and Impeachment yesterday in this new analysis – the bottom line is that we think McConnell’s hand is much weaker than conventional wisdom holds right now, and all of this is far more likely to break against Trump than for him. 

Undergirding our belief that the President is in deep trouble politically is that his standing with the public remains historically low for a President at this point in their first term, particularly given how much money he and his allies have spent and how powerful his day to day noise machine remains. 538 has a good new piece out this morning showing just unpopular Trump is - his job approval remains below -10, landslide territory; he is underwater on Impeachment/removal; his standing in the 2020 battlegrounds is far weaker than conventional wisdom holds right now; the Congressional generic is plus 6-7 for the Democrats and the Senate has become a true toss up; and when Trump actually led his troops into battle in 2017, 2018, and 2019, Republicans ended up with near worst case electoral outcomes each time. 

A simple stat to consider – using 538’s tracker, the President’s job approval on election night 2018 when Rs lost the national vote by 8.6 points was -10.4.  Today it is -11.2.  Which means that the basic structure of the race, the bones, still remains about where it was in 2018, which was a wipeout, or 2019, which saw Rs lose KY and LA and the GA governor reject Trump’s choice to fill an empty US Senate seat.