Biden Still Leads Democratic Pack Despite Doubts

According to the polls, former Vice President Joe Biden continues to hold a lead over the large pack of Democratic presidential contenders for next year’s election.Despite his standing in the polls, concerns linger about Biden’s age and his habit of making verbal gaffes, and that has some Democrats questioning whether he is the best candidate to go up against President Donald Trump next year.Like most of his rivals, Biden has focused his campaign efforts in the early voting state of Iowa in recent weeks. Iowa will kick off the primary voting process with its caucus votes Feb. 3.President Donald Trump talks to reporters at Morristown Municipal Airport in Morristown, N.J., Aug. 13, 2019.Targeting TrumpIn speaking to Democratic voters, Biden often makes the desire to defeat President Trump his primary campaign focus.“If we give him eight years, and I really believe this from the bottom of my heart, he will forever change the character and the nature of who we are,” Biden told a rally in Boone, Iowa, last week. “That is why we have to defeat Donald Trump in 2020. Period.”Biden remains atop national and key state polls for now but faces strong competition from a large field of rivals that includes Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.“2020 is our chance. We can make this government work for all of America. Let’s do this, Democrats! Dream big! Fight hard! Let’s win!” Warren urged Iowa voters last week.Warren has been surging in the polls in recent weeks and has moved into a slight lead for second place behind Biden in an average of national polls, according to the nonpartisan political website, RealClear Politics.Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks at a campaign event, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019, in Franconia, N.H.Atop the pollsThe RealClear average of polls shows Biden atop the field with 30%, followed by Warren at 18%, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders at 17%, California Senator Kamala Harris with 8% and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg with 6%. The rest of the Democratic field is at less than 3%.Biden also retains smaller leads over the Democratic field in the key early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Biden leads in Iowa by an average of 9 points, but in New Hampshire, his edge has come down to less than 3 points over Sanders and Warren.Even at age 76, Biden remains an energetic campaigner. But he has also drawn scrutiny in recent weeks for a series of verbal gaffes that have sent shudders of nervousness through some Democratic voters.Biden got confused about the locations of the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, at one point referring to shootings in Houston and Michigan.He told a crowd in Iowa that he had met as vice president with students from Parkland, Florida, after the mass shooting there in February 2018, even though he had left office in early 2017.And Biden seemed to inject an element of race into comments he made about education and the poor during a campaign speech in Iowa.“Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids, wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids,” he said.
Biden Still Leads Democratic Pack, Despite Doubts video player.
FILE – Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., waves to supporters as he arrives at a rally at Santa Monica High School Memorial Greek Amphitheater in Santa Monica, Calif., July 26, 2019.Biden continues to emphasize the argument that he would be the strongest nominee to take on Trump, while key rivals Warren and Sanders emphasize a broader agenda of reform on the economy and social issues.This split within the Democratic Party over whether to focus primarily on Trump or push for broader political change remains vibrant, said Brookings Institution analyst Darrell West.“A lot of the current debate among the Democrats is, do we need small changes and basically bring America back to what it was like before Trump, or do we need much more substantial changes?” he said.That dilemma will be on display again when Democrats gather for a third debate in Houston next month.


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