Joe Biden's 2020 chances might be stronger than we think

Former Vice President Joe Biden is thinking about running for president, yet few seem to think he's the fron...

Posted: Dec 18, 2018 10:12 AM
Updated: Dec 18, 2018 10:12 AM

Former Vice President Joe Biden is thinking about running for president, yet few seem to think he's the frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

The reasons to be suspect are plenty including his record (fairly mainstream in a party moving to the left), his age (he's 76) and the fact that he's a white male in a diversifying party that nominated women in record numbers in 2018.

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But maybe -- just maybe -- we're underestimating Biden's strength. Let's go through some key points working in Biden's favor.

1. He leads in all the polls

Our CNN national poll last week had Biden ahead at 30%. He hasn't trailed in a single national poll conducted in the last 11 months. Our Iowa caucus poll had him leading the pack with 32%. Biden's advantage is far from dominating, but it's nothing to sneeze at, even at this early stage.

The candidate leading in contested primaries without an incumbent running since 1972 has gone on to win his or her party's nomination 50% (8 of 16) of the time. That may seem low, but keep in mind that the betting markets give no Democrat a greater than 20% chance of winning at this point. Additionally, pegging Biden at a 50% chance is far higher than the 10% the markets currently give him.

For comparison, Biden never led in any national or Iowa poll in either of his previous presidential runs in 1988 and 2008. In fact, he hit no higher than 10%

2. His leads are not just about name recognition

It would be tempting to think that Biden's advantage is merely a side effect of being well-known. Indeed, in CNN's latest national poll, 88% of Democrats and independents who lean Democratic hold an opinion of him. That's nearly double the 45% who can form an opinion of Sen. Kamala Harris, for example.

Biden, though, isn't just well-known; he's well-liked. We can allocate those who say they're undecided on whether they hold a favorable or unfavorable view of each potential Democratic nominee. With a 7-to-1 ratio of favorable to unfavorable rating nationally, Biden's favorable-to-unfavorable rating is the highest of any Democrat tested. In Iowa, it's the same story. Biden's 5.5-to-1 favorable to unfavorable rating is the highest.

3. Polls say he can beat President Donald Trump

One of Biden's big flaws as I mentioned at the top is his fairly mainstream record. Yet, Iowa Democrats by a 54% to 40% margin think it's more important for Democrats to nominate someone who can beat Trump than someone who shares their ideology. Biden has led in every single poll over Trump and usually by double-digits.

Iowa Democrats also believe by a 49%-to-36% margin that a "seasoned hand" has a better chance of defeating Trump than a "newcomer". Biden, of course, served in the Senate for decades and became vice president.

The polling matches the pattern seen in the 2018 primaries. Voters seemed to want to win above all else. When the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee or Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee endorsed one candidate and an outside progressive group endorsed another, the party-endorsed candidate won 89% of the time.

Now, none of this data proves that Biden will win. In fact, I don't think he will. For one thing, Biden may not end up running. If he does decide to throw his hat into the ring, however, there's no doubt that he'll face attacks on his record that could drag his numbers down.

Still, there's enough data out there that would make me think that perhaps I should run if I were Biden.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 69374

Reported Deaths: 1989
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5700119
DeSoto371031
Harrison260136
Madison245569
Jackson231444
Rankin230735
Jones193159
Forrest182656
Washington170142
Lee152142
Lauderdale141592
Neshoba128892
Lamar123115
Bolivar113635
Oktibbeha113339
Warren112535
Lowndes109239
Panola106816
Sunflower105625
Scott101120
Lafayette98719
Copiah96228
Leflore94966
Pike94037
Holmes91049
Grenada85123
Pontotoc8429
Yazoo84113
Lincoln83442
Monroe82155
Simpson80631
Leake79526
Coahoma78113
Wayne78021
Tate74330
Marshall7129
Marion68420
Union66216
Adams63225
Winston62916
Covington62214
George5956
Pearl River55940
Newton54511
Tallahatchie54111
Attala52725
Walthall50221
Chickasaw47619
Noxubee46112
Tishomingo4377
Alcorn4355
Calhoun4259
Prentiss42310
Claiborne40914
Smith40613
Hancock40214
Clay40114
Jasper3949
Itawamba38710
Tippah37414
Tunica3587
Clarke33626
Montgomery3295
Lawrence3238
Yalobusha31610
Humphreys29712
Quitman2691
Carroll26111
Greene25612
Perry2428
Amite2376
Webster23712
Kemper23314
Jefferson Davis2336
Wilkinson21513
Stone2115
Sharkey2045
Jefferson1957
Benton1451
Choctaw1354
Franklin1312
Issaquena272
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 100801

Reported Deaths: 1814
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13366246
Mobile10581212
Montgomery6825151
Madison546934
Tuscaloosa426979
Unassigned392566
Baldwin367029
Shelby333437
Marshall319438
Lee270847
Morgan241819
Etowah218034
DeKalb183414
Calhoun181918
Elmore176039
Walker154465
Houston142813
Russell13892
St. Clair136320
Limestone135913
Dallas133624
Franklin129722
Cullman123012
Colbert121517
Lauderdale119020
Autauga116222
Escambia108817
Talladega105414
Jackson10264
Tallapoosa87579
Chambers84738
Dale84329
Clarke82610
Chilton8189
Blount8165
Butler77036
Coffee7656
Covington74021
Pike7137
Marion58226
Barbour5796
Lowndes57124
Marengo56616
Hale48526
Bullock48111
Winston45711
Perry4454
Bibb4445
Washington44412
Wilcox43410
Monroe4236
Pickens4089
Randolph40211
Conecuh39310
Sumter36618
Lawrence3542
Macon33914
Crenshaw3326
Choctaw28912
Cherokee2768
Clay2675
Geneva2652
Henry2643
Greene25211
Lamar2302
Fayette2235
Cleburne1291
Coosa1053
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