- Former Vice President Joe Biden is best poised to defeat President Donald Trump in the 2020 general election, according to a series of polls from INSIDER.
- Since late December, INSIDER has been asking adults who say they plan to vote in Democratic primaries about who they’d be satisfied as nominee, and who they think could win.
- Biden has not year formally entered the race, but is expected to make a decision soon.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is best poised to beat President Donald Trump in the general election, according to a series of polls from INSIDER.
We’re tracking the Democratic field as part of a series of surveys conducted among U.S. adults over the course of the past several months. Given how early it is in the cycle, what INSIDER is primarily interested in is the overlap in support for different contenders, and if they’d be satisfied with the candidate as nominee.
Over the course of the past seven polls (full methodology here), there have been 2,850 respondents who said they’re likely to vote in their state’s Democratic primary or caucus and are also registered to vote. Of those, 82% had heard of Biden and of those 66% would be satisfied with him as the nominee.
But where Biden truly stands out – and likely garners much of his support – is the perception among Democrats that he can beat President Trump in a general election, a perception that other candidates have yet to foster.
A subset of respondents were asked which candidates would beat Trump in a general election. Of the 1,024 reported Democratic voters who knew of Biden, 71% said they thought he’d beat Trump, while 5% thought he’d lose, and the last quarter were unsure.
That’s far larger than the general perception of how potential contenders would do. Generally, Democrats thought a candidate they’d heard of would beat Trump 36% of the time, lose 9% of the time and were unsure 55% of the time. Most contenders are in that general area of support. Looking at every respondent, not just Democrats, Biden was thought to win 55% of the time, lose 9%, with 35% unsure.
The reality is that Biden is broadly understood to be fairly electable. His closest rival in the polls – Sen. Bernie Sanders – was seen among Democrats as able to win only 49% of the time, lose 10% of the time, and uncertain 42% of the time.
Still, this is a key advantage Biden has over the suite of other rivals.
This sets up a bit of peril for the former vice president. If the reason he’s garnering the largest support in most polls is merely the perception that he alone among Democrats could beat Trump, his support could crumble the moment that another candidate emerges who demonstrates electability.
Biden also fares well in terms of name recognition.
INSIDER polling shows that 82% of likely Democratic voters have heard of him, giving the former Delaware senator a significant advantage in a crowded field of candidates all vying for exposure.
Biden has yet to formally jump into the race, taking his time while more than a dozen other candidates are getting a head start traversing the early voting states like Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.
But Biden has still made a point of staying in the public view as he mulls a presidential run, delivering a handful of public speeches in the past month.
At the Munich Security Conference in Germany last month, Biden excoriated Trump and his administration’s immigration policy.
“The America I see values basic human decency, not snatching children from their parents or turning our back on refugees at our border,” he said. “Americans know that’s not right. The American people understand it makes us an embarrassment. The American people know, overwhelmingly that it is not right. That it is not who we are.”
He has also been talking to advisors, including contemplating an early running mate selection and a pledge to serve only one term, according to The New York Times.
Whether Biden formally jumps into the race is still to be determined, but it is clear he already holds several significant advantages if he does – including confidence from voters that he can defeat Trump.
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