Biden Holds on to Commanding Lead in Crowded Race

Joe Biden speaks at the Biden Courage Awards on Tuesday in New York City. (AP photo/Frank Franklin II)

(CN) – Two weeks after formally announcing his bid for the presidency, Joe Biden continues to hold a commanding lead over a crowded field of Democratic candidates in the polls – and it’s not even close.

The former vice president and Delaware senator has led the polls since before making his run official, but the newest numbers show a more sustained bump in the rankings than other candidates received after they officially announced their candidacies. In addition to taking a leap over the other candidates, Biden also set the record for fundraising in the first 24 hours of a campaign at $6.3 million.

In a Hill-HarrisX poll released Tuesday, 46% of Democrats and Democrat-leaning registered voters said Biden should be the Democratic Party’s nominee, placing him 32% ahead of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders who received 14%. The rest of the nominees failed to garner double-digit support.

A Harvard CAPS/Harris poll released over the weekend showed Biden leading the pack with 44% with Sanders also receiving 14%.

“The Biden surge is significant and greater than expected,” said Mark Penn, co-director of the Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll. “His launch was super successful and he has opened up a significant lead.”

Biden has maintained numbers in the high 20s to low 30s, well within striking distance for Sanders who has regularly polled in the high teens to low 20s. Since his announcement however, Biden has precipitously increased his spread to 23 percentage points, according to Real Clear Politics.

A clear showing from the polls finds that Biden is drawing support from older Democrats, non-college educated whites and black Democrats, demographics that could help him clinch the party’s nomination.

According to Morning Consult, Biden received 48% support of those aged 65 and older, compared to just 11% for South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg and 10% for Sanders in the same age group. Younger voters between 18 and 29 are more likely to support Sanders at 36%, though Biden still has 23% support.

Part of Biden’s appeal may be in his perceived ability to take down President Donald Trump in the general election. In a Quinnipiac University poll released last week, 56% of Democrats and Democratic leaners said Biden had the best chance to beat Trump, followed by Sanders at just 12%.

“The Democratic primary race suddenly gets real with a fast start by former Vice President Joe Biden and a very clear indication from voters that he is the only candidate who can send President Trump packing 18 months from now,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the poll.

Since mid-March, Biden has scored an average 7 percentage points ahead of President Trump in general election polls. Sanders also polls ahead of the president in a general election matchup, but at an average 3.4 percentage point advantage over the same time period.

While Biden currently enjoys an advantage in polling, it’s far too early to consider him the inevitable nominee. During his Democratic primary campaign in 2004, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean led the polls up until the Iowa caucuses, where he came in third. His speech to supporters that night featured a meme-worthy voice-cracking scream that some say led to his campaign’s downfall.

The Harris-HillX poll was conducted among 1,002 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris poll surveyed 1,536 registered voters from an online sample drawn from the Harris panel and does not report a probability confidence interval as a result.

The Morning Consult poll interviewed 15,770 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percentage point.

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