October Polling Numbers

With less than four months to go before the first votes are cast for the 2020 presidential primaries, the contest is heating up for the Democratic nomination. In the last debate, Sen. Elizabeth A. Warren (D-MA) was attacked on her policies by multiple candidates, indicating that in the field’s eyes, she has become co-frontrunner next to fmr. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Both Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Warren were put on the defensive when it came to their progressive policies on healthcare, but both defended their stances, rightly pointing out that a sole focus on a possible hike on middle class taxes is a conservative talking point.  

With Warren threatening Biden’s status as frontrunner, I thought it’d be a good time to check where the candidates stand in the polls, both nationally and in the early states.  

In terms of aggregate numbers for the past month, Biden still has a significant lead nationally, capturing 28 percent of primary voter support. Warren comes second with 21 percent, with Sanders rounding out the top tier at 16 percent. In the second tier, we have South Bend, Ind. Mayor Peter P. Buttigieg and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) with five percent each. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang is at three percent, Sen. Cory Booker and fmr. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) at two percent apiece, and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), fmr. Housing Sec. Julian Castro, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Sen. Amy J. Klobuchar (D-MN), Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), and businessman Tom F. Steyer all at one percent each. No other candidate exceeds one percent nationally.  

A seven-point lead for Biden shows that the vice president is still supported by a plurality of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, but also indicates that Warren’s national support is growing faster than Biden’s. In August, Biden stood at 29 percent nationally, and Warren at 15 percent. Since then, Biden’s numbers have slightly dipped while Warren has jumped by six points.  

The race is even more competitive in the early states, save South Carolina. In Iowa, Biden and Warren are tied in an aggregate of polls for the past two months. Both have 22 percent of the state’s primary voter support. Sanders is in third place at 15 percent, with Buttigieg claiming 12 percent support. No other candidate exceeds 10 percent.  

In New Hampshire, Warren has a small one-point lead in the same two-month aggregate. She stands at 24 percent over Biden’s 23 percent. Sanders, the only other candidate to exceed 10 percent, comes in at 18 percent.  

In Nevada, Biden maintains his lead, but slightly underperforms his national average, coming in at 24 percent. Sanders and Warren have 19 and 18 percent, respectively. In South Carolina, overwhelming support from black voters has helped Biden maintain what seems to be an insurmountable 23-point lead over the rest of the field. In order of Biden, Warren and Sanders, support is 38, 15 and 12 percent.  

Whether Warren’s support will continue to rise after last week’s debate remains to be seen. In my opinion, a rise in favorability ratings for more moderate candidates, per FiveThirtyEight, will lead to a small bump in the polls for Buttigieg and Klobuchar. Biden also stands to gain from this, but because his numbers are already relatively high, the difference will probably be less significant for him.