Swalwell In; Sanders Up in Bay State

By Jim Ellis

California Rep. Eric Swalwell (D)

April 10, 2019 — California Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin/Hayward), who for many months has been indicating that he would run for president, finally announced his intentions Tuesday and becomes the 18th Democratic candidate.

Swalwell, who will likely be a minor candidate throughout the process, has said he will not run for both president and the US House simultaneously. Therefore, expect him to depart the presidential race well in advance of the California congressional candidate filing deadline on Dec. 6.

The Golden State will now hold its presidential and state primary on March 3, since the legislature and governor changed the schedule in order to provide them more influence in the presidential nomination process. But Swalwell will have to decide well in advance of the first national votes being cast as to whether he wants to relinquish a safe US House seat in order to continue in what will likely be a long shot presidential effort with little realistic hope of success.

Emerson College released a new Massachusetts poll (April 4-7; 371 likely Democratic Massachusetts primary voters) that projects Sen. Bernie Sanders overtaking former Vice President Joe Biden and finding home state Sen. Elizabeth Warren running a distant third.

According to the Emerson results, Sen. Sanders leads 26-23-14-11 percent over ex-VP Biden, Sen. Warren, and South Bend (IN) Mayor Pete Buttigieg. All others, including Texas former congressman, Beto O’Rourke, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), record only single-digit support.

Several points about this poll: first, the sample size is very small (371 statewide), so the error factor is high. This means that Sanders’ standing could be inflated, but it is still unlikely that, at this point, neither he nor Biden could drop as far as third place.

Second, data such as this Emerson Massachusetts poll is very damaging to Sen. Warren. Dogged by surveys showing her languishing in single digits, she does claim 14 percent in Massachusetts.

Though she finally ventures into a double-digits, this total continues as a bad sign for the fledgling Warren campaign as even 86 percent of Massachusetts Democrats are yet unwilling to back her for president. Without more gusto coming from her home state, which has a healthy first-ballot delegate contingent of 91 members (13th largest of 57 voting entities), Sen. Warren could begin to see her presidential campaign slide into oblivion at an early juncture.

Third, with Biden falling behind Sen. Sanders in this poll, it may be an indication that the negative publicity he has received over his casual public flirtation with various women over the years is potentially having an effect. In the only other publicly released Massachusetts Democratic presidential primary survey, Biden led Sen. Sanders by five percentage points according to a YouGov poll in November.

Fourth, we again see Mayor Buttigieg recording a double-digit showing and even approaching shouting distance with Sen. Warren in her own state, reflecting a trend that is being seen in other areas, as well.

Fifth, and possibly the bigger story, is Sen. Harris and ex-Rep. Beto O’Rourke falling back into the single-digit pack. O’Rourke, according to this survey, has only eight percent support, while Sen. Harris drops to seven percent. Nationally, both have been neck-and-neck for third position, and with stronger public support than this Massachusetts poll yields.

Because this is Warren’s home state and she is posting an improved performance explains Harris and O’Rourke falling to a degree, but it is clear from this and other data that Buttigieg is gaining primarily at the expense of the other two.

Though this is just one poll from one state, some of the aforementioned trends could be a harbinger of changing patterns.

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