2020 Paradox: Biden Trends Down in Polls, but Odds Go Up

538: No single candidate has been able to grab momentum yet, good news for former VP
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2020 1:31 PM CST
These New Polls Are Decent News for Biden
Joe Biden talks with supporters at a campaign event in Reno, Nev., on Monday.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Now that the dust has settled on Iowa and New Hampshire, a flurry of new polls suggests that the news for Joe Biden isn't as bleak as some think, according to an analysis at FiveThirtyEight. The reason? "They're not showing that any candidate has grabbed a ton of momentum," writes Nathaniel Rakich. In fact, they suggest that Democrats have a long fight ahead of them, with a distinct possibility that no candidate will receive a majority of pledged delegates in the primary season. To be clear, the news isn't great for Biden, whose Southern "firewall" appears to be weakening. In fact, the polls out of Nevada, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida "show Biden trending in the wrong direction," writes Rakich.

But "paradoxically they are actually good news for his overall chances of winning a majority of pledged delegates, which have ticked up from 1 in 9 (11%) on Thursday afternoon to 1 in 8 (13%) now." That's mainly because Bernie Sanders hasn't had a surge of momentum despite his win in New Hampshire. At the Hill, Juan Williams argues in an op-ed that the Biden-is-doomed narrative is being fueled in part by President Trump, who doesn't want to face him. "The media celebrated one 'comeback kid' 28 years ago when Bill Clinton—who also lost Iowa and New Hampshire—went on to win the nomination," writes Williams. "Perhaps history will record Biden as the comeback kid of 2020." (The polls have delivered good news to another candidate, Michael Bloomberg.)

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