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Even as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio dives in to the crowded pool of Democratic presidential candidates, new polls make it appear that most of the more than 20 hopefuls are swimming in circles until their candidacies go down the drain.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll showed that former Vice President Joe Biden has the support of 29 percent of the poll’s respondents, up from 24 percent last month. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont was a distant second at 16 percent.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kamala Harris of California and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas were next at 6 percent, followed by South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 4 percent. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey received 2 percent support, while everyone else in the field attracted 1 percent support or lower.
Although the poll was at variance with the Real Clear Politics average of polls, which showed Biden with a commanding 39.8 percent support and slightly stronger single-digit support for Harris, Warren and Buttigieg, the Reuters/Ipsos poll followed the broad outlines of most surveys.
In general, Biden leads, followed by Sanders a good distance back. Harris had a spate of double-digit showings in February and early March. Warren, Buttigieg and O’Rouke have occasionally scored a double-digit showing, but in the vast majority of the polls since October, Biden and Sanders are the only ones in double digits, with many candidates falling below 2 percent support.
Sanders has scored one win and one tie in that time, according to Real Clear Politics.
In analyzing the recent polling, political analyst Scott Rasmussen predicted that the Democrats will evolve into a four-candidate race.
Although noting that both Warren and Harris lag the front-runners, Rasmussen noted that ” both Warren and Harris offer Democrats a much-needed contrast rather than limiting the options to a pair of older white men.”
As for O’Rourke and Buttigieg, the others who poll in high-to-middle single digits, Rasmussen was not upbeat on their long-term prospects.
“But other than being young, neither of those men offers a compelling rationale for why they should be considered instead of Biden or Sanders. And neither of them has all that much experience in office to draw upon,” he wrote.
A Gallup Poll that showed Biden cresting at a 53 percent approval rating among Democrats, followed by Sanders at 46 percent, unearthed the root of many candidates’ ills: The public has little to no idea who they are.
The poll showed that Buttigieg, despite extensive favorable media publicity, remained unknown to 47 percent of those being polled.
Among the gaggle of politicians in the race who remain clustered in single digits, 34 percent of would-be voters had never heard of Booker, 32 percent were unfamiliar with O’Rourke, 28 percent didn’t know Harris and 20 percent hadn’t heard of Warren.
The poll, conducted in late April, did not even bother asking about Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota because both were so little-known in a February Gallup poll.
But as Yogi Berra once observed, it is never over until it is over. As Biden rolls along, progressives — who railed at Biden in April when he was accused of inappropriate actions around women — are waiting to pounce.
“There’s a lot of nostalgia for the Obama-Biden administration,” Democracy for America Chairman Charles Chamberlain said, according to Politico.
“The problem is Obama’s coattails only last so long for Joe Biden. And as people start to investigate his track record, and continue to see how Joe Biden campaigns, which we’ve seen before, isn’t very good … then I suspect we’re going to see the wheels come off the cart.”
Others, however, think progressives are indulging in wishful thinking.
Progressives “have misread the mood,” Wason Center political scientist Rachel Bitecofer said. “The current mood of the Democratic electorate is ‘terrified.’ When people are terrified, they seek safety and become risk-averse.”
Democrats have their first presidential debates scheduled for June 26 and June 27 in Miami.