Since announcing his candidacy, Biden's numbers have skyrocketed, while others' have slumped.
Before jumping into the field of 2020 democratic hopefuls, former Vice President Joe Biden was already leading the field by a substantial margin. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders had held steady in second place for months, but still 8-10 points behind Biden in the national polls. Other hopefuls, such as Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O'Rourke, and Elizabeth Warren have been struggling to gain significant footing in the polls crowded by almost two dozen democratic candidates.
“As long as the field remains this large, Sanders will find it difficult to compete with Biden for democratic voters.”
After announcing his candidacy on April 25th, Biden has seen his average poll numbers jump very quickly from around 30% to above 40%. In the same time, Senator Sanders has seen his own support drop from 22% to 14%. It may seem strange that voters are moving from Sanders and the left wing of the party to Biden's establishment candidacy, but there are several reasons for this that may spell the end for democratic candidates in a crowded race for the democratic nomination.
Biden has the benefit of tremendous name recognition and a close association with President Obama, who is still a very popular figure in democratic politics. As one of only two democratic candidates with near-universal name recognition, it makes sense that he is one of the front-runners. An appreciable number of democratic voters opted for a candidate that they already knew about, and Biden's announcement gave them a firm option to get behind a well-known candidate.
But Biden also comes from the democratic establishment, having served in the Senate for six terms before his time as Vice President. Many of his policies have been deemed too centrist for progressive democrats, but he has been making attempts to reach out to progressives and independents in order to build a strong coalition for his campaign. In a party that has essentially split into moderate liberals and progressive democrats, it is clear that Biden is the biggest name in the moderate liberal column. Meanwhile, candidates like Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Beto O'Rourke have embraced the progressive ideology of Bernie Sanders in order to gain traction among young voters. While this may be an easy way for lesser-known candidates to build their support, these candidates have taken a great deal of the vote from Senator Sanders. As long as the field remains this large, Sanders will find it difficult to compete with Biden for democratic voters.
As we approach the democratic debates, there will undoubtedly be some shake-ups, but do not be surprised if Biden maintains a steady lead in the polls.