Things continue to go from bad to worse for former Vice President Joe Biden.
Days after being accused of sexually assaulting a former staffer, a new poll reveals that Biden supporters are not excited at all to vote for him if he secures the Democratic presidential nomination.
A new ABC News/Washington Post poll found that less than 1-in-4 people (24 percent) answered that they are highly enthusiastic about supporting him, a figure that is “the lowest on record for a Democratic presidential campaign” over the past 20 years.
The poll that that support for President Donald Trump stands at 53 percent, more than doubling Biden’s meager 24 percent.
ABC News reports voters holding their nose at the idea of voting for Biden is comparable to those same voters backing Hillary Clinton in 2016:
Perhaps the Democrats’ biggest risk is under the surface, in Trump’s big advantage in backers who are “very” enthusiastic about supporting him. Strong enthusiasm for a candidate can help boost turnout on Election Day, a must-have particularly for Democrats, who rely more on motivating less-frequent voters to come to the polls.
While trailing Trump by 29 points in high-level enthusiasm, Biden makes up some of the difference with those who are “somewhat” enthusiastic. But he still trails Trump by 12 points in the combined measure, 74 vs. 86%.
There’s déjà vu in these results: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton found herself in largely the same position four years ago. She, too, had a slim lead among Democrats for the nomination and ran essentially evenly with Trump among registered voters. And she lagged in enthusiasm, with a low of 32% very enthusiastic in September 2016. Biden is 8 points under that mark now.
According to the report, Biden faces another similar challenge to Clinton: Bernie Sanders.
Sanders is still in the running for the presidency, despite significantly trailing Biden. And, perhaps more importantly, his voters will be up for grabs should he drop from the race.
The ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 15 percent of Sanders’ current supporters would choose Trump over Biden in a prospective match-up.
The clearing of the Democratic field hasn’t led to much change in the profiles of Biden and Sanders supporters, but there’s a magnitude shift for Biden. Seniors and black voters have been good for him in the past, but with significant shares interested in other candidates. They’ve coalesced: Eighty-three percent of Democratic and Democratic-leaning seniors prefer Biden over Sanders, up 63 points from February; two-thirds of blacks say the same, a 34-point increase.
Eighty percent of Sanders backers say they’ll vote for Biden against Trump; as noted, 15% say they’d back Trump. (This is familiar: Twenty percent of Sanders supporters said they’d vote for Trump in spring 2016.) For context, 15% of Sanders supporters is 6% of all leaned Democrats, and Trump won 8% of Democrats in 2016. Still, Biden wants all the in-party support he can muster.
Further, among Sanders supporters who say they’d vote for Biden in November, a mere 9% are very enthusiastic about doing so. More, but still only 49%, are “somewhat” enthusiastic.
The devastating poll for Biden came days after podcaster Katie Harper released an audio clip of an interview with Tara Reade, a former staff assistant to Joe Biden, in which Reade claims that Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993.
Reade begins by detailing how she was instructed to rush a gym bag to Biden at the time. Upon reaching then-Senator Biden with the bag, Reade claims that he greeted her by name, and proceeded to sexually assault her in a “side area.”
“We were alone, and it was the strangest thing. There was no, like, exchange really, he just had me up against the wall,” Reade claims.
“His hands were on me, and underneath my clothes,” Reade later says. “He went down my skirt, but then up inside. He penetrated me with his fingers.”
Reade alleges that Biden was kissing her and asking her if she “wanted to go somewhere else,” and that after the alleged assault was complete, he said, “C’mon man, I heard you liked me.”