A new Charleston Post & Courier Poll in South Carolina finds Joe Biden is preferred by 46% of likely Democratic primary voters, up 14 points from a month ago.
Sen. Bernie Sanders sits second at 15%, followed by Sen. Kamala Harris at 10%, Pete Buttigieg at 8%, Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 8%, Cory Booker at 4% and Beto O’Rourke at 2%.
Key findings: “The latest poll shows Biden leads the field among men and women and in all regions of the state. He also is tops among black voters, who account for close to two-thirds of Democratic primary voters in South Carolina. His only weak spot is among younger voters ages 18-34.”
President Trump tried to belittle Pete Buttigieg by referring to him as as Mad magazine mascot Alfred E. Neuman, but Buttigieg told reporters he didn’t get it, Politico reports. Said Buttigieg: “I had to Google that… I guess it’s a generational thing.”
He added: “It’s kind of funny, I guess. But he’s also the president of the United States and I’m surprised he’s not spending more time trying to salvage this China deal.”
New York Times: “An internal poll of 17 states taken by Mr. Trump’s campaign showed one possible opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., overtaking Mr. Trump in a head-to-head contest… Mr. Trump fared better in a matchup against Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, but Mr. Trump’s low approval numbers were dragging him down against the Democrats. It was unclear whether the campaign poll-tested anyone else in the field.”
Washington Post: “Only one of the 21 Democrats running for president wants voters to see him as the establishment choice best able to fulfill the promise of President Barack Obama’s third term. But former vice president Joe Biden has yet to become a consensus pick of the White House and campaign advisers who made Obama’s two terms possible.”
“With some exceptions, the generation that brought to Washington an insurgent message they called ‘hope and change’ is once again resisting pressure to get in line, as they scan the field for a possible heir to Obama’s transformational 2008 candidacy and worry about a repeat of the disastrous 2016 election.”
“Many others, however, speak of their continued hunger for a new generation of leadership and a fresh face who can transcend political divisions. They worry about siding with a lifelong Washington fixture. And they are eager for someone like Obama who can bring new voters to the polls.”
NBC News: “As dusk descended Thursday over the posh hills of Brentwood, actor Martin Sheen gathered with his former ‘West Wing’ co-stars Bradley Whitford and Mary McCormack to open up their checkbooks for Pete Buttigieg. Hollywood mogul Rob Reiner was also there for the event at actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s home, along with President Obama’s former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and several former ambassadors who showed up to get a glimpse at the South Bend.”
“It was just one of nearly a dozen high-rolling fundraisers that Buttigieg has been holding this week in Los Angeles, San Diego and finally San Francisco, where he is collecting money Friday from Silicon Valley execs at a trio of fundraisers.”
A federal judge is requiring 32 of Florida’s 67 counties to provide election materials and assistance to Spanish-speaking voters before the 2020 presidential primary, NBC News reports.
The decision “comes after several civic engagement groups and individuals sued the state secretary of state and elections supervisors last year for what they say was a violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for not making available bilingual voting materials and assistance to the state’s growing number of Spanish speakers.”
Associated Press: “In a tacit recognition that this approach isn’t working, O’Rourke is planning to try again, taking a hands-on role in staging a ‘reintroduction’ ahead of next month’s premier Democratic presidential debate. As he finalizes his plans, O’Rourke has entered an intentional ‘quiet period’ to build out campaign infrastructure, according to an adviser who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the campaign’s strategy.”
“That will end soon. O’Rourke is planning to significantly ramp up national media appearances — he is appearing live on ABC’s The View on Tuesday after skipping most such exposure in recent months. He’s also poised to offer more concrete policy plans on top issues. So far, he’s issued just one — a sweeping proposal to combat climate change.”
Harry Enten: “You can see O’Rourke’s struggles most clearly in the polls. In an average of national polls taken since Biden entered the race, O’Rourke has fallen to just below 5% support. That’s the lowest he has been since at least December.”
“Florida, with its hordes of older voters and establishment-oriented Democratic Party, doesn’t just look like Biden Country. Judging from the initial reaction to his presidential bid in the nation’s third-largest state, it’s shaping up to be his firewall,” Politico reports.
“Joe Biden is crushing the Democratic field here, including Bernie Sanders, in the latest polling. More than one-third of Democratic state legislators endorsed him almost as soon as he announced his candidacy, a testament to state political ties that stretch back decades and span generations.”
Washington Post: “Biden has gotten a surprising bump in the polls — beyond what many Democratic strategists had predicted. Those who said Biden’s best day as a candidate would be the day before he announced have been proven wrong. Biden’s support nationally, and in some states, has risen. Maybe the doubters will have the last laugh, as Biden still has much to prove, but as short-term prognosticators, those who predicted a quick unraveling of his candidacy have been found wanting.”
New York Times: “As the famously voluble Mr. Biden makes his first retail campaign stops in the Democratic primary, and grows accustomed to the front-runner status he never enjoyed in his two previous White House bids, his campaign is grappling with how to showcase Mr. Biden’s never-met-a-stranger persona without exposing him to an environment where he may commit a gaffe.”
“So far, they have struck a safe, if precarious, balance.”
“Just over two weeks into Mr. Biden’s candidacy, the most notable feature of his campaign may be what hasn’t happened: He has not blurted anything out that delights his rivals, horrifies his aides and reinforces his image as ‘Uncle Joe,’ America’s there-he-goes-again relative who makes you smile and wince in equal measure.”
“The Congressional Black Caucus may have found an answer to its Joe Biden dilemma: Vice President Kamala Harris,” the New York Timesreports.
“Some black lawmakers are agonizing over whether to back Biden or two members of the close-knit caucus — Sens. Harris and Cory Booker — who are also vying for the White House, according to interviews with a dozen CBC members. But with the former vice president jumping out to a huge, if early, lead in the polls, several CBC members are warming to the idea of a Biden-Harris ticket to take on President Trump.”