Joe Biden Lead Unaffected By ‘Segregationist’ Controversy Heading Into First Democratic Debate, New Polls Show

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One week after what appeared to be a potentially devastating controversy erupted around Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden, after remarks in which Biden appeared to praise two hard-line southern segregationist senators, with whom the six-term senator Biden served in the 1970s, for their “civility,” new polls show that Democratic voters have been largely unmoved by the media and online firestorm over Biden’s remarks, according to a report by Politico.

Politico cited a new poll condition conducted by the publication and the research firm Morning Consult, which found that 41 percent of likely voters in the Democratic primary said that Biden’s remarks about the two senators — James Eastland of Mississippi, and Herman Talmadge of Georgia — would make no difference to them when they cast their ballots. In fact, 29 percent actually said that the controversy would make them more likely to vote for Bide, while only 18 percent cited the “segregationist” remarks as causing them to be less likely to vote for Biden.

A poll by The Economist/YouGov released almost two weeks ago showed Biden commanding support from a full 50 percent of black voters in the Democratic primary race. The Politico/Morning Consult findings appear to indicate that Biden’s support with black voters is unlikely to weaken, despite his remarks about the two senators who were firm opponents of racial integration.

The poll found 27 percent of black voters saying that the controversy made no difference to them, while 30 percent said it made them more likely to vote for Biden. Only 20 percent said the controversy would reduce their chances of voting for Biden.

A poll released on Tuesday by The Associated Press in conjunction with the research firm NORC offered a possible explanation for why the seemingly explosive remarks by Biden have not damaged Biden’s candidacy. According to the poll, the overwhelming majority of Democratic voters value “experience in elected office” as the most important quality in a candidate — at 73 percent. The second-most important quality, according to the poll, was gender, with 40 percent saying that they are primarily looking for a woman to win the Democratic nomination.

The 76-year-old Biden served six terms in the Senate, followed by two terms as United States vice-president under President Barack Obama, far more experience in elected office than any other candidate.

As The Hill reported, Biden will appear in Thursday night’s Democratic debate, during which his rival candidates are expected to confront Biden over his “segregationist” remarks.

The results of two new polls released on Tuesday surveying Democratic voter candidate preferences showed Biden maintaining his comfortable lead over the Democratic field. An Emerson College poll showed Biden at 34 percent, seven points ahead of second-place Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont.

In a separate Morning Consult poll, Biden led Sanders by an even wider margin, a whopping 19 points, 38-19.