A new Des Moines Register/CNN poll in Iowa finds Bernie Sanders leading the Democratic presidential race with 20%, followed by Elizabeth Warren at 17%, Pete Buttigieg at 16%, Joe Biden at 15%, Amy Klobuchar at 6%, Andrew Yang at 5%, Cory Booker at 3%, Tulsi Gabbard at 2% and Tom Steyer at 2%.
Said pollster Ann Selzer: “There’s no denying that this is a good poll for Bernie Sanders. He leads, but it’s not an uncontested lead. He’s got a firmer grip on his supporters than the rest of his compatriots.”
Key finding: “The percentage of those who say their mind is made up about which candidate to support on caucus night has risen to 40% — up 10 percentage points from November. But that leaves 45% who say they could still be persuaded to support someone else and another 13% who have not picked a favorite candidate yet.”
The new FiveThirtyEight model shows Joe Biden is currently favored to win the most delegates in Democratic presidential primary, but the race is still wide open.
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds 64% of Americans strongly or somewhat agreed that “the very rich should contribute an extra share of their total wealth each year to support public programs” – the essence of a wealth tax.
Results were similar across gender, race and household income. While support among Democrats was stronger, at 77%, a majority of Republicans, 53%, also agreed with the idea.
A new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds a majority of Americans said they disapprove of President Trump’s handling of the situation with Iran, 56% to 43%. Most also think the country is now less safe, 52% to 25%.
“A slate of endangered House Democrats is coalescing behind Joe Biden for president as the Iowa caucuses approach — a surge of support triggered by fears that Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren at the top of the ticket would cost them their seats,” Politico reports.
A Washington Post-Ipsos poll finds Joe Biden is far and away the favored Democratic presidential candidate for black Americans with 48%, boosted by his personal popularity, his service in the Obama administration and perceptions that he is best equipped to defeat President Trump.
Bernie Sanders occupies second place at 20 percent, while Elizabeth Warren runs third at 9 percent. Pete Buttigieg is at just 2 percent among black Democratic voters nationally.
Washington Post: “Iowa voters are famous for taking their time every four years to decide which candidate to support, often insisting on a dutiful process of meeting several contenders in person before making up their minds. But this year is different — with many Democrats here so paralyzed by the fear of choosing the wrong candidate in the first-in-the-nation nominating contest that they are finding it impossible to make up their minds.”
“The uncertainty goes deeper than the already-vexing decision about which contender voters like more, and it is complicated not merely by this year’s crowded field.”
“Rather, for many here who remain uncommitted, the dilemma presents a whole new calculation — a search for an elusive set of qualities seen as necessary to defeat President Trump, the most unpredictable opponent in modern history.”
“President Trump’s reelection campaign is beginning to aggressively attack a rising threat to his power: Bernie Sanders,” BuzzFeed News reports. “The Trump campaign put out two statements centered on Sanders this week and the Vermont senator was at the top of the list of people the president attacked at his first rally of the year in Toledo, Ohio on Thursday night.”
But…. “I sort of hope it’s Joe because he will hear ‘where’s Hunter’ every single debate, nine times a debate.” — President Trump, quoted by Fox News, claiming he wants Joe Biden to be the Democratic nominee.
“The non-aggression pact between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren is seriously fraying,” Politico reports. “Sanders’ campaign has begun stealthily attacking Warren as a candidate of the upper crust who could not expand the Democratic base in a general election, according to talking points his campaign is using to persuade voters.”
Playbook: “We are 298 days until the election. Are you at all convinced that impeachment will remain as poignant a political issue as it is now? Republicans feel confident they’ve put red-district Democrats in a bad spot for supporting impeachment — but they’re equally confident it will be very difficult to keep them in that bad spot for the next 10 months, and privately concede the issue might soften over time.”
“Think about the last week in politics: The U.S. killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, allies got nervous, the world wondered if Iran would strike back, Iran did, President Trump said he wouldn’t escalate further, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was in the middle of holding the impeachment articles, now she’s at the end of holding them, and you have to wonder: What else will happen between now and November that will make impeachment seem like ancient history?”
“This is some back-of-the-napkin math, but bear with us: If impeachment starts next week, you should expect it to end in late January. That leaves nine full months between the end of impeachment and Election Day. In this environment, that’s at least 270 news cycles.”
Bret Stephens: “Trump won because he was willing to say loudly what his supporters believed deeply; because, in his disdain for what politicians are supposed to be and do, he exuded authenticity; because he was hated by the people his base found hateful; because he had an opponent who, in the minds of his supporters, epitomized corruption and self-dealing; and because he offered radical cures for a country he diagnosed as desperately ill. Despite being the oldest man ever elected president, he seemed (to his voters) fresh, true, bold, and sorely needed.”
“So it is, and would be, with Sanders. Depth of conviction? Check. Contempt for conventional norms? Check. Opposed by all the right people? Check. Running against a ‘crooked’ opponent? Check. Commitment to drastic change? Check. Like Trump, too, he isn’t so much campaigning for office as he is leading a movement. People who join movements aren’t persuaded. They’re converted. Their depth of belief is motivating and infectious.”
Cook Political Report: “Ultimately Kansas shouldn’t be a headache for the GOP, but it’s quickly becoming one. And as long as Kobach looks like the likely nominee — barring a reversal from Pompeo or a stronger showing from Marshall or Wagle or another candidate — that gives Democrats a much more plausible path. Given those dynamics, we’re moving this race to the Lean Republican column.”
“While I certainly would disagree with Bernie on an awful lot of things, if it’s Donald Trump vs. Bernie, I would support Bernie.” — Michael Bloomberg, quoted by CBS News.
“Michael Bloomberg’s massive campaign apparatus and an army of some 500 staffers will march on through the general election in November even if he loses the Democratic nomination, shifting their efforts toward working to elect whoever the party selects to face President Trump,” NBC News reports.
“Bloomberg’s vast tech operation will also be redirected to help the eventual nominee, as Democrats struggle to compete with the vaunted digital operation built by Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale. Hawkfish, a digital company started by Bloomberg that’s carrying out his $100 million online ad campaign, will be retained through Election Day to help defeat President Trump.”
Said campaign manager Kevin Sheekey: “Mike Bloomberg is either going to be the nominee or the most important person supporting the Democratic nominee for president. He is dedicated to getting Trump out of the White House.”
“Number one priority is to get rid of Donald Trump. I’m spending all my money to get rid of Trump.” — Michael Bloomberg, in an interview with Reuters.
Well, this is a good thing.
New York Times: “Unlike the behind-the-scenes role he played in the 2016 campaign — where he was seen as a key figure but, campaign aides said, never took a title and avoided blame — Mr. Kushner is positioning himself now as the person officially overseeing the entire campaign from his office in the West Wing, organizing campaign meetings and making decisions about staffing and spending. His more prominent role comes after much of 2019 was spent bogged down by the Russia-related investigations that had dogged the president since he took office.”
“The portfolio marks a sharp departure from Mr. Kushner’s focus in the early days of the administration, when he sought to be a central driver of administration Middle East policy, acting at times as a shadow secretary of state who circumvented official channels of power within the State Department.”
Marianne Williamson, the self-help author and spiritual adviser whose long-shot presidential campaign called for reparations and a Department of Peace, announced on Friday that she would drop out of the race, the New York Times reports.
She said that, in a race as tight as this one, she did not want to “get in the way of a progressive candidate winning” any caucus or primary.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) warned that the election of Mike Espy (D), an African American who served as Secretary of Agriculture, to the U.S. Senate would kick off a millennium of “darkness,” according to Deep South Voice.
Said Bryant: “If Mike Espy and the liberal Democrats gain the Senate we will take that first step into a thousand years of darkness.”