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Ian Millhiser, for Vox:
Warren’s new lead in national polls comes on the back of a Quinnipiac poll, released on Tuesday, which shows her leading the Democratic field: 29 percent of registered Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters said they would vote for her if the primary were held today. Former Vice President Joe Biden, now in second place, received 26 percent of the vote in the same poll. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), typically considered the other frontrunner in the race, had 16 percent.
I have a lot of theories about why this lead may not last, but it’s undeniable that her team has done a really good job consolidating support from the left and center, countering initial hesitation around the campaign’s strength, and building a clear pragmatic message for voters. Warren’s been a folk hero for a certain type of progressive liberal for a while, and it’s been exhilarating to see her catch on nationally.
Based on the RCP polling averages, Biden and Sanders are in the midst of a decline, and support does seems to be consolidating around Warren. We are still early in this season, and things could change, but as questions around Sander’s health and Biden’s family continue to reverberate in the media, expect their numbers to continue to slip, likely to Warren’s benefit.
It’s also worth noting that since the “She Has A Plan For That” stage of the campaign, Warren has:
- Faced no serious attacks from Biden, Sanders, or their supporters and surrogates.
- Received almost exclusively fawning media coverage
- Avoided the scrutiny a rising star in a primary usually gets because of a news cycle dominated by impeachment
- Has mostly sidestepped longstanding questions from the left on her health care policies and foreign policy beliefs (this matters because a sizable amount of her support is currently coming from former Sanders caucusers)
We’ll see if any of that changes leading up to the debate next week. I’m generally bearish that Warren will continue to rise long term, although I’ve been thinking that for a while now and momentum continues to stay on her side.