Oct. 14, 2015 — Several new polls were released at the beginning of this week displaying national and individual state Democratic primary results. All find former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton improving her position within the party nomination framework. Conversely, the cumulative data’s biggest surprise is Vice President Joe Biden’s relatively poor standing.
Biden’s deficit may be large enough to possibly preclude his entrance into the race. With him trailing even Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT) in more places than not, according to this recent wave of publicly released polling, it seems the late-starting Biden would have a difficult time eclipsing Clinton if he were to officially launch his candidacy.
The new national CBS/New York Times poll (Oct. 4-8; 1,251 adults; 1,038 registered voters, 343 Democratic primary voters) finds Clinton leading Sen. Sanders and the vice president 46-27-16 percent, respectively. Clinton still falling below the 50 percent mark notwithstanding, Sanders dropping under 30 percent and Biden failing to even reach 20 percent is a clear indication of her relative strength.
The remainder of the early October surveys comes from individual states. The Washington Post/University of Maryland tested the Free State electorate (Oct. 8-11; 1,006 Maryland adults, 401 self-identified Democratic voters), CNN/ORC polled the critical early nomination states of South Carolina and Nevada (Oct. 3-10; 301 likely South Carolina Democratic primary voters; 253 likely Nevada Democratic Caucus attenders), and Gravis Marketing ran another New Hampshire survey (Oct. 5-6; 373 likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters).
In South Carolina, Clinton leads Biden and Sanders, 49-24-18 percent. Without Biden in the poll, the former First Lady has a commanding 70-20 percent advantage over Sen. Sanders. The Nevada component to the CNN/ORC data finds Clinton with a 50-34-12 percent advantage against Sanders and Biden, respectively. In a two-way contest, Clinton leads Sanders 58-36 percent among the prospective Silver State Caucus attenders.
The Washington Post/UMD Maryland electorate data gives the former senator and First Lady a 43-26-20 percent margin, this time with Biden in second place.
Finally, the Gravis New Hampshire data again finds Sen. Sanders finishing first, but Clinton is now close behind (33-30-11 percent), which is a much tighter spread than found in other recent data.
On the eve of the Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton seems to have been given a boost within her party’s respondent universe. Whether it is a boomerang effect from Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA-23) comments about the House Benghazi Committee being politically motivated, or for other reasons, the findings clearly portend a stronger Democratic front-running candidate.
Should Vice President Biden not enter the race, it appears it would only be a matter of time before Clinton locks down the party nomination in what would presumably be an effective two-way contest between she and Sen. Sanders. It is also fair to say that Biden would likely need to see better numbers than these if he is to first, enter the contest, and second, make a serious run for the party nomination.