The Campaign Report – March 5, 2020

Public Policy Polling surveyed four critical U.S. Senate races and found Democrats leading in them all:

ARIZONA: Mark Kelly (D) leads Sen. Martha McSally (R), 47% to 42%

COLORADO: John Hickenlooper (D) leads Sen. Cory Gardner (R), 51% to 38%.

MAINE: Sara Gideon (D) leads Sen. Susan Collins (R), 47% to 43%

NORTH CAROLINA: Cal Cunningham (D) leads Sen. Thom Tillis (R), 46% to 41%.

Key takeaway: “The Maine result is most interesting. When PPP first polled the Gideon-Collins match up for a private client last spring, Collins led by 18 points at 51% to 33%. The reason for the 22 point shift since then is that in the wake of opposing impeachment, Collins has lost most of the crossover Democratic support she’s relied on for her success over the years.”

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) “is poised to reverse himself and run for the Senate, a decision that would hand the party a coveted recruit who could help reclaim a majority in the chamber,” the New York Timesreports.

“After months of insisting he would not challenge Senator Steve Daines, Mr. Bullock, who ran for president last year, has told Democrats in the last week he is now inclined to run in what would immediately become one of the marquee Senate races of 2020. Mr. Bullock has only a few days to finalize his decision: the filing deadline to run in Montana is Monday.”

Bernie Sanders said he saw the Democratic primary as a two-person race with Joe Biden, ABC News reports. Said Sanders: “My guess is that after California is thrown into the hopper, it’s going to be pretty close… I think we go forward basically neck and neck.”

He also said he had talked to Elizabeth Warren earlier today, but that she had not made any decisions about the future of her campaign.

To Bernie’s credit, he stuck to the metric that will determine who gets the nomination: “If Biden walks into the convention, or at the end of the process, has more votes than me, he’s the winner.” — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), in an interview on MSNBC.

After seriously underperforming on Super Tuesday, Bernie Sanders is out with a new ad that appears to shift his message from bashing “the establishment” to embracing it.

So after attacking Obama for five years and calling him a failure, Bernie is going to embrace him. LOL. That won’t play.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is backing Joe Biden for president days before the state’s Democratic primary, giving the former vice president another boost after his success on Super Tuesday, the AP reports.

Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) endorsed Joe Biden’s presidential bid ahead of Florida’s Democratic primary on March 17, The Hill reports.

“The close relationship between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and President Trump is souring, and the bad blood is threatening to spill into the president’s reelection effort in the nation’s biggest swing state,” Politicoreports.

“DeSantis was a Trump loyalist when the president helped propel the two-term Republican congressman into the governor’s mansion in 2018. But Trump’s Republican allies in Florida now are spreading the word — behind the governor’s back — that DeSantis isn’t doing enough to repay the political debt.”

Washington Post: “Sanders’s reset attempt, coming less than a week before another critical set of primaries, reflected a divide among some of his supporters about how to proceed.”

“In some parts of the Sanders orbit, there have been private discussions about how to reassure Democrats that Sanders — a democratic socialist who frequently lambastes the party establishment — is an ally of the party.”

“The flurry of activity amounted to the clearest acknowledgment yet that the coalition Sanders has built — which is composed largely of young people, liberals, working-class voters and Latino voters — has failed to expand since Sanders’s upstart 2016 bid, all as the rest of the party has coalesced behind Biden.”

Nate Cohn: “Joe Biden not only reclaimed his status as a front-runner on Super Tuesday, but his victories also gave him a clear path to amassing enough delegates to clinch the nomination by the Democratic National Convention.”

“An Upshot analysis suggests that the close delegate race might not last for long. If the race doesn’t take a decisive turn in favor of Mr. Sanders, Mr. Biden is likely to build an insurmountable delegate lead over the next few weeks.”

“Top surrogates and allies of Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are discussing ways for their two camps to unite and push a common liberal agenda, with the expectation that Warren is likely to leave the presidential campaign soon,” the Washington Post reports.

“There is no certainty she will endorse Sanders or anyone else, but the talks reflect the growing pressure on the Massachusetts senator to withdraw.”

CBS News: “After focusing past the first four primary states, Bloomberg put more than $570 million into advertising across the country… At the time of his departure from the race the morning after Super Tuesday, he had amassed just 31 pledged delegates, meaning in total he had spent about $18 million per delegate earned.”

Even before all the votes have been tallied, one thing is clear: participation in Democratic primaries is soaring in 2020 as compared to 2016 and even 2008 in some places.

In some states, that’s partly a function of moving from the caucus system to the much less time-intensive primary process. Those states includeColorado, where turnout was up about 517% over 2016; Maine quadrupled voter participation from about 47,000 in ’16 to some 194,000 with 90% reporting; Minnesota also almost quadrupled from 205,000-plus in ‘16 to 745,000-plus Tuesday night; and Utah is up about 120% over last cycle.

But where participation soared was another important part of the story, with the suburban areas that helped push Democrats to sweeping victories in the midterms again showing a surge in voting. Virginia participation nearly doubled to 1.3 million voters, and Joe Biden won nearly every county there, including in the suburbs that surround D.C. Additionally, Biden beat Sanders by double digits in the suburb-heavy counties of Texas that include Dallas and Houston. And much like the results from South Carolina, Biden also turned in dominant performances among black voters in Virginia, North Carolina, and Alabama.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

9 comments on “The Campaign Report – March 5, 2020

  1. cassandram

    Those Senate numbers and Steve Bullock getting in for MT might be the best news no one is hearing this week. Because the Senate is *literally* in play.

  2. Unstable Isotope

    That Colorado Senate number, wow! I’m surprised at the NC Senate number considering Cunningham just won on Tuesday. I can’t wait until Collins loses, that will be sweet.

  3. cassandram

    Warren suspending her campaign.

    Not a surprise honestly, but a real disappointment.

  4. And still no pundit has noticed that the voter surge for Biden came from states with open primaries. Nothing like letting Republicans pick the Democratic candidate.

    • cassandram

      Don’t know about pundits, but I have heard reporting on this. VA, mainly where NOVA never Trumpers voted in a big wave for Biden. The ones I know (working for the government) really put off by how the EPA is being treated and put off by the relocation of the USDA. Anecdotally know a few in other states who changed their registration to vote for Ds. I’m not a fan of open primaries, but no surprise I think that the small cohort of never Trumpers are voting for Biden at this point. The real Super Tuesday surge came from the suburban folks and AAs who powered the Blue Wave in 2018.

    • mediawatch

      What’s your view of what the Republicans were doing? There was some WaPo reporting and video over the weekend showing some MAGA folk in Va. explaining that they voted for Bernie because they’d rather face him in November. If that’s that MAGA consensus, then Republicans crossing over to vote for Uncle Joe would be from the Never Trumper faction.
      What struck me, in terms of pundits missing the boat, is that they haven’t noted that the states across the South that Biden won (other than Va.) have been reliably red for years. The D who wins the party’s primary in a solidly red state doesn’t become a likely winner there in November. More likely outcome is that he would lose by less than those he beat.

  5. The people I”m talking about might be independent R-leaners. As has been shown, most independents vote reliably for one party or the other, but they aren’t Trump-loyal like Rs are. I have no data, but I think those people outnumber the Never Trumpers who still register R.

    Pollsters working a Democratic primary contact Democratic voters, not Republicans or Independents. So the polling is going to be off. But when it comes to a “voter surge,” I get suspicious. I am especially suspicious about how late the surge for Biden was — a huge number of his votes came from late deciders.

    Is it really the case that suburban moms and African Americans couldn’t make up their minds until the last minute? Or was it that given just two choices, they chose the “safe” alternative?

    National polling pitting Biden vs. Sanders shows Democrats splitting 55-45 for Biden. The margin of victory in many of these states was far wider than that, and in states where Biden went from behind to winning showed a much bigger swing than that.

    What I suspect is that the extra votes came from more moderate independents.

    • Sorry, should have added that this isn’t bad news for victory in November. Those independents are exactly who the party hopes Biden appeals to.

    • cassandram

      “Is it really the case that suburban moms and African Americans couldn’t make up their minds until the last minute? Or was it that given just two choices, they chose the “safe” alternative?”

      Anecdotally, I think AAs were mostly leaning to Biden. The suburban Moms and the “strategic” Democrats waiting until the last minute.I told folks I was with Super Tuesday that the results you were seeing was the Democratic Party finally breathing. Very many Dems wanted this field to winnow down after the very first debate and seemed frustrated by all of the choices. Now they have their winnowing. But the Biden surges were in both open and closed primaries.

      Dems are so focused on getting rid of Trump by any means necessary, I think some of the larger questions just never got far on folks’ radar. There was ALOT of “strategy” voting — who’s up, who’s down’, who has the wider appeal, who will be better treated by the media that was about who was electable Wish I was more confident in that kind of decision-making.

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