Is Joe Biden actually underrated now?

A new poll shows Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg struggling to gain support from black voters in South Carolina.

Posted: Nov 19, 2019 10:20 AM
Updated: Nov 19, 2019 10:20 AM

It's popular -- particularly on Twitter! -- to blast former Vice President Joe Biden and declare his presidential hopes dead. And given his poor fundraising through the end of September and his, uh, middling debate performances, there are some real facts behind that perception.

But one of the under-told storylines of the 2020 campaign to date is that despite the defeatist conventional wisdom, the support for the former vice president has -- and continues -- to show surprising resilience. That's especially true of Biden's support among African Americans, a critical voting bloc in a Democratic presidential primary.

Two polls released Monday out of South Carolina tell that story. In a Quinnipiac University poll, Biden is at 33% with Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts a distant second at 13%. A University of North Florida poll showed much the same -- Biden at 36% with Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont lagging well behind at 10% each.

Among black voters in the Quinnipiac poll, Biden took 44% to 10% for Sanders and just 8% for Warren. (South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg received less than 1% of the black vote in South Carolina in the new Q poll. Ouch.)

Of the UNF poll, Dr. Michael Binder, faculty director of the Public Opinion Research Lab, said: "Buoyed by his support among African American voters, Biden has an established lead far above the other contenders in South Carolina."

Biden's lasting strength in South Carolina and with black voters is mirrored in his improving performance in national 2020 polling as well. Biden was in danger of losing his edge over Warren in national 2020 surveys as recently as a few weeks ago. Now? He averages more than 7 points over Warren, according to the polling database maintained by Real Clear Politics.

To be clear: Biden is still not where he wants to be in Iowa or New Hampshire. And his fundraising needs to get drastically better. But his continued strength in South Carolina -- and the persistence of support from black voters even amid online predictions of his imminent demise -- suggest that Biden may have more strengths than he is getting credit for at the moment.

The Point: Biden isn't the freshest face in the race. He's not the most liberal. He's not the most eloquent. But he may well have the deepest reservoir of support among the key bloc of voters who have decided the identity of the last two Democratic presidential nominees.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1097128

Reported Deaths: 17438
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1437882222
Lake712531225
Allen65537867
Hamilton50147482
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Vanderburgh34221495
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Grant11701235
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Washington384154
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Spencer355846
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Ohio91413
Unassigned0585

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1683472

Reported Deaths: 26483
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1766331826
Cuyahoga1641462636
Hamilton1122641528
Montgomery794721387
Summit702171199
Lucas618431017
Butler55878803
Stark525841170
Lorain41058639
Warren35404412
Mahoning35095769
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Clermont30711362
Delaware26682182
Trumbull26664611
Licking26200335
Medina25291351
Fairfield24173287
Greene24051369
Clark21653387
Portage20709280
Richland20587336
Wood19626246
Allen18542320
Miami17031348
Columbiana16502331
Muskingum16416206
Wayne15432304
Tuscarawas14086357
Marion13054194
Erie12423198
Ashtabula12314225
Scioto12235182
Pickaway12070151
Ross11487223
Hancock11256173
Geauga10666174
Lawrence10504171
Belmont10259231
Huron9588155
Jefferson9462225
Union939175
Sandusky9068166
Seneca8692156
Knox8618169
Washington8613156
Athens827396
Darke8270179
Ashland7840147
Auglaize7741115
Shelby7337132
Defiance7210114
Crawford7082150
Brown7052115
Fulton7016111
Logan6857108
Mercer681697
Guernsey680283
Highland6615117
Madison641389
Clinton6388106
Williams628798
Preble6171139
Putnam6089120
Jackson572396
Champaign568286
Perry558879
Coshocton5552103
Ottawa553599
Morrow506464
Fayette483170
Hardin477899
Gallia462978
Pike459076
Van Wert454691
Adams4514109
Henry424976
Hocking401493
Holmes3939137
Wyandot367973
Carroll351578
Paulding319349
Meigs302457
Monroe231860
Noble216447
Morgan210138
Harrison205152
Vinton183937
Unassigned05
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