- A handful of 2020 presidential candidates share common support with former Vice President Joe Biden, who announced a presidential campaign on April 25.
- Biden has been the subject of controversy over the past few months, with women alleging he inappropriately touched them and invaded their personal space.
- While Biden experienced a strong start to his campaign, several candidates could capitalise if support dwindled or his campaign fizzled out altogether.
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WASHINGTON – While Joe Biden‘s campaign has gotten off to a strong start, controversies surrounding the former vice president and the wide-open nature of the Democratic primary could provide an opening for one of the savvy 2020 presidential candidates to court some of the voters backing Biden’s new White House bid.
According to polling from INSIDER examining which candidates have shared blocks of supporters, Biden losing traction could dramatically shift which candidates gain support in the growing field of Democrats eyeing the presidency.
Biden has strong name recognition, with 82% of likely Democratic primary voters having heard of him. In a crowded field of candidates, being well-known is a key component of maintaining a campaign.
According to INSIDER polling, 52% of Democratic primary voters who’d be satisfied in the event Biden was nominee would also be satisfied see Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders as the Democratic nominee. Following Sanders are California Sen. Kamala Harris at 43% satisfaction among Biden backers, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 42%, and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke sharing 37% of Biden backers.
When looking at how other candidates share support with Biden, it becomes clear whose base may be jeopardized now that Biden is in the race.
For example, 69% of those satisfied with New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand atop the ticket would also be satisfied with Biden as the nominee. Gillibrand supporters are more inclined to want Biden as the nominee than the entire Democratic voting block, where 63% would be satisfied with Biden winning the primaries, a nearly 6 percentage point difference.
While Biden joined the race fairly late in the game on April 25, he’s already experienced a positive surge in support, according to polls released Tuesday from CNN, Morning Consult, and Quinnipiac University.
But that doesn’t mean Biden is going to run away with the nomination.
Shortly before launching, Biden was embroiled by accusations that he has inappropriately touched women. Since that time, the former Delaware senator has said he was not aware of making the women in question feel uncomfortable, but has only offered indirect apologies.
In addition, Biden has been criticised for failing on multiple occasions to directly and clearly apologise for his role in the attacks law professor Anita Hill endured when testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991 – which Biden chaired at the time – about the alleged sexual harassment she experienced at the hands of Justice Clarence Thomas.
Hill told the New York Times that while Biden reached out to her in an attempt to apologise a few weeks before launching his campaign, his efforts fell short of a true apology, and she “left the conversation feeling deeply unsatisfied.”
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