Biden Reclaims Top Slot While Buttigieg Climbs to 2nd in New Poll

(CN) – Former Vice President Joe Biden has retaken the national lead from Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren in the Democratic race for president while South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg leapfrogged to second place, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday.

Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg addresses supporters during a Nov. 1, 2019, rally in Des Moines, Iowa, before participating in the Democratic Party’s Liberty and Justice Celebration event. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

The national poll put Biden back atop the 2020 Democratic field with 24% support from Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. Buttigieg and Warren take second and third with 16% and 14%, respectively, while Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders rounds out the top four with 13% support.

These numbers represent a notable shift for the contenders compared to Quinnipiac’s October poll. Last month saw Warren leading the pack with 28%, seven points ahead of Biden’s 21%. Buttigieg has also seen his standing rise compared to last month, when he was in fourth place at just 10% support.

Tim Malloy, a Quinnipiac University polling analyst, said the numbers do not bode well for Warren.

“Biden is back on top of the pack but now there is a three-way race for second. Buttigieg has broken into the top tier, apparently at the expense of Warren, who has taken a dive after being hammered for being too far left on health care and other issues,” Malloy said with the release of the poll.

The poll also does not bring good news for billionaire Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor New York City and the newest candidate to enter the Democratic primary race. Just 3% of respondents threw their support behind Bloomberg, the same as California Senator Kamala Harris and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar.

The remaining candidates received 2% or less in the poll.

Polling data suggest much of Biden’s support among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents is because many voters view Biden as the most electable candidate. The poll shows that nearly half (46%) of voters believe Biden is the candidate most likely to defeat President Donald Trump in the 2020 general election. Only 10% of voters believe the same for Warren and Sanders.

The poll reports that 35% of voters believe that a Democratic candidate with the best chance to win in next year’s head-to-head matchup against Trump is the most important quality – far ahead of qualities like honesty (19%) and good leadership skills (18%).

From left, Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate on Nov. 20, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Only 5% of voters say intelligence is what they are most looking for in a presidential candidate.

One area where Warren did lead in the poll, however, was among voters who were asked to name their second-choice candidate. Warren led that field with 20% while Biden received 12%. Sanders and Buttigieg received 11% and 10% support, respectively, as second-choice candidates.

At the other end of the political spectrum, Trump’s approval rating in the poll remains largely unscathed after the recent impeachment hearings. Trump currently has a 40% approval rating and a 54% disapproval rating among registered voters – largely similar to October’s figures.

Also generally unchanged from October is voter opinion on whether Trump should be impeached and removed from office. This month, 45% support impeachment and 48% disapprove; in October, 48% of voters wanted the president to be impeached and 46% did not.

Malloy says that these numbers suggest that the public impeachment hearings, which have dominated the airwaves and press coverage this past week, have done little to sway public opinion.

“The televised impeachment hearings haven’t had much of an effect on the president’s approval rating, or how voters feel about impeachment. The numbers still don’t look good for Trump, but they definitely haven’t gotten worse,” Malloy said.

The poll surveyed 1,355 registered voters and has a 4.9% margin of error.

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