Joe Biden has yet to enter the crowded Democratic field for the party’s nomination in 2020, but it appears he may have already weathered the first major roadblock.
Biden became embroiled in controversy after a series of women came forward to say he invaded their personal space and gave unwanted touches and kisses. The controversy led to criticism from across the political spectrum, prompting Biden to offer an apology for his past behavior as well as a vow to change and to continue to listen to women who felt uncomfortable by his actions.
It seems Biden’s actions were not enough to sour voters, The Hill noted. The former vice president has not seen a drop in donor enthusiasm in the weeks since the first reports emerged of inappropriate behavior. The report spoke to party insiders who believe he will still be able to enter the race as a frontrunner.
“If you know Joe, you can’t take that seriously,” said one major fundraiser, who called the controversy “overblown.”
“I think people see where he is in the polls and they think he can get the job done,” the donor added.
Biden has also been able to maintain his standing in polls. Despite not yet entering the race, Biden has been atop a series of early polls for voters, including key early states like South Carolina and California, where a recent Quinnipiac University poll showed Biden atop the field with 26 percent support.
The report noted that Biden’s team has been working with donors, showcasing the strength the vice president has, especially in such a large field where no other candidate has risen to the top.
Political experts have varied on whether Joe Biden’s early lead in the polls is significant or more a side-effect of his name recognition, an advantage that would fade as voters pay closer attention to other candidates as they build their national stature. But polling expert Harry Enten wrote (in an analysis for CNN) that Biden is doing well, even when his name recognition advantage is taken into account.
Biden also stands in a good position compared to other past primary winners, Enten wrote.
“Biden’s current 30% nationally is not to be taken lightly. Examine a 2011 analysis of early primary polls from years past by FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver,” his analysis noted. “When a candidate with high name recognition averages 30% in the polls in the first half of the year before the primary, said candidate has a 2 in 5 chance of winning the nomination. Biden has averaged about 30% in every month so far this year, despite more candidates entering the race.”
Controversies that could've doomed other candidates have seemed to barely ding Joe Biden. @burgessev and I take a look at the bulldogs on Capitol Hill ready to leap to his defense:https://t.co/AnMHzYgTzz— Heather Caygle (@heatherscope) April 13, 2019
Joe Biden has not yet officially declared his intention to seek the Democratic nomination in 2020, and it is not yet clear when an official announcement might be made.