ChrisWeigant.com

Biden's Exit Might Clinch The Race For Hillary

[ Posted Wednesday, October 21st, 2015 – 16:51 UTC ]

It has been a busy few weeks for the Democratic presidential race. First the debate, then Jim Webb's exit from the race, and today the news that Vice President Joe Biden has declined to jump into the contest. Tomorrow, Hillary Clinton will testify before the Benghazi committee. All of this will have an effect on the voting public, but it's still too early to make any definitive statements as to how everything is going to shake out. Still, some trendlines are already emerging, and they could be very good news indeed for Clinton.

First let's take a look at the debate's impact, because we are starting to see hard data in the polls showing what the public thought about the debate (as opposed to "what the pundits thought the public might be thinking about the debate"). The first Democratic debate was a success for Bernie Sanders, but a really big success for Hillary Clinton. Nobody else at the debate even registered much with the public, which is no real surprise. Both Clinton and Sanders are doing better in the polls after the debate than before, but Clinton clearly did herself more good than Bernie. Sanders is comfortably polling in the mid-20s, but so far he seems to have a built-in ceiling of around 30 percent support. Clinton, on the other hand, had seen her numbers slip dramatically down to around 40 percent before the debate. She's now in the high 40s and looks like she's within reach of topping 50 percent again. That's a solid turnaround in trendlines, created almost entirely by her strong debate performance.

Sanders supporters were convinced that Bernie won the debate, right after it happened. The voters didn't agree -- most Democrats said Hillary won (but also that Bernie did well, too). Sanders supporters were convinced that the debate would be a great way to introduce Bernie to a lot of Democrats who maybe had heard his name but had never really heard him speak. This would engender a wave of new support for Bernie, which would lift his numbers up to where Clinton's were. That largely didn't happen. Some voters were indeed convinced to give Bernie a chance, but not enough. Most were convinced to give Hillary more support, which notably reversed her recent drop in the polls.

These numbers, I should mention, are all from polls that included Biden's name. Now that he's officially not running, the pollsters (hopefully) will stop including Biden, so we can get a more accurate picture of the two-way race between Clinton and Sanders. More on this in a moment.

Jim Webb finally figured out that the Democratic Party has moved on from the early 1960s, and that he's (to put it politely) not exactly a good fit for the current Democratic electorate. He did mutter darkly about launching an independent bid for the presidency, but even if such a wildly-improbable thing were to happen, it likely would have almost zero effect on the race at large. Other than Clinton and Sanders, there are still three other Democrats still running, at least until Lincoln Chafee runs out of money. Martin O'Malley will likely stay in to the bitter end, in his bid to get named to the vice president slot on the ticket. Lawrence Lessig is not "running for president" so much as "performing a political science experiment," so he's not likely to end his run any time soon, either. However, with Biden now out, the Democratic race is clearly a one-on-one contest, so none of these minor candidates are even really worth discussing.

The big question looming now is where all the Biden supporters will go. Biden was polling respectably in the high teens, meaning there is 15-20 percent of the Democratic electorate now up for grabs. Who are these Biden supporters? Some just plain love Biden as a candidate. Some are party loyalists who wanted what would essentially have been a third Obama term. Some don't like Hillary Clinton but were reluctant to support Sanders. The question is what was the exact mix of the Biden supporters. Party loyalists will likely shift their support to Clinton. People disenchanted with Clinton will likely move over to Bernie's column. Much like the effect of the first debate, what is most likely to happen is that both Sanders and Clinton get a boost from Biden's exit, but that Hillary's boost will be bigger than Bernie's.

That's what the polling so far has indicated. After asking the question with Biden's name in the list, some polls asked the question again without including Biden, to see how the numbers differed. In these polls, most showed that Clinton got more of the Biden supporters than Sanders. If this does play out, it would mean Bernie might get a bump of around five percent while Clinton rises by 10 percent or more.

This might give Clinton an unbeatable lead. Adding five points to Bernie's numbers (even on his best day) only moves him up to the mid-30s (with a ceiling of perhaps 35 percent or so). But adding 10 points to Hillary's numbers puts her comfortably into the 50s -- well over a majority of Democratic voters. She could climb as high as 60 percent, which (if she can maintain it) would easily be enough for her to win the nomination.

We've still got a lot of election season to go, however. These numbers might change in the future, for better or worse. Democrats still have a number of debates lined up, and Hillary still has to testify tomorrow before Congress. So far, she's been aided by the Republicans who have admitted the nakedly partisan nature of the committee, and she seems pretty confident she won't have some sort of "gotcha" moment, but anything is still possible.

Biden's exit from consideration should clarify the race, but it'll likely take a few weeks before the ripples fade. Biden supporters will now be faced with a choice between two viable candidates. Perhaps some of them will even take a look at O'Malley, who still struggles to top one percent in the polls. Biden voters may shift back and forth between Clinton and Sanders for a while before truly committing to one or the other.

However, if the trends do play out the way previous polls have indicated, and barring any unforeseen circumstances, the pundits may look back on this week as the time that Hillary Clinton clinched the Democratic nomination. Her strong showing in the debate began this trend, and if Biden's supporters put her comfortably over 50 percent in the Democratic race, the trend may become irreversible. If it does continue, Bernie Sanders would have to take Iowa and New Hampshire to even have any reasonable shot at winning the nomination. Sanders would have been much more competitive in a three-way race with Biden, but now that that option is not going to happen the road to the nomination looks a lot harder for him.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Cross-posted at The Huffington Post

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

27 Comments on “Biden's Exit Might Clinch The Race For Hillary”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    You have summed up very nicely why Biden declined to give a run for the presidency another shot.

    Truth be known, I'm guessing Biden gave up on that ambition the day he accepted Obama's invitation to be vice president. And, had family tragedy not thrown a monkey wrench into that thinking, Biden would have made that abundantly clear long before the race got underway and saved himself (and myself) the heartache that went along his recent MDDOTW award. :)

  2. [2] 
    Paula wrote:

    We'll see how things turn out, but I really don't think Biden would have helped matters by running. I don't think he would have won and I do think he would have pulled both Hillary and Bernie down. I like that Hillary and Bernie are being civil to each other instead of trying to do damage and wish they'd join up (I know they won't). I want them strong and intact to take on whichever Repub is left standing.

  3. [3] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Ugh. Clinton vs Bush II inches ever closer and a Twitter troll named Donald Trump looks like our only hope of avoiding that fate. We know that Trump gets his foreign policy from "the shows", so maybe somebody could ask him to watch The Walking Dead. Although I give him high marks for his "W was president on 9/11" trolling, he apparently needs a few tips on how to finish off that zombie JEB.

  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/mother-of-benghazi-victim-erupts-at-hillary-clinton-shes-lying/

    Hillary will never be POTUS...

    And THAT is what is best for this country..

    Michale

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    So far, she's been aided by the Republicans who have admitted the nakedly partisan nature of the committee, and she seems pretty confident she won't have some sort of "gotcha" moment, but anything is still possible.

    *A* single Republican rendered an IGNORANT opinion on what HE *thought* the Benghazi hearings were all about..

    Com'on.. Let's keep things factually accurate here...

    Michale

  6. [6] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    JFC,

    Ugh. Clinton vs Bush II inches ever closer and a Twitter troll named Donald Trump looks like our only hope of avoiding that fate.

    For a long time Biden aficionado like me who has been endlessly frustrated by the treatment he has received from all corners, that is almost poetic justice.

    Almost, because I'm also a fan of the promise of America ... a promise that I fear will be pushed aside for some time to come. :(

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    "I believe that we have to end the divisive partisan politics that is ripping this country apart, and I think we can. It's mean-spirited, it's petty, and it's gone on for much too long. I don't believe, like some do, that it's naive to talk to Republicans. I don't think we should look at Republicans as our enemies. They are our opposition. They're not our enemies."
    -Joe Biden

    Well said, Joe...

    But I fear it is falling on deaf ears..

    The Left Wing enjoys their hatred and their bigotry TOO much to actually listen to the wisdom of your words...

    The Left Wing wants war...

    Michale

  8. [8] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    [5] Michale:
    Com'on.. Let's keep things factually accurate here...

    If you are going to be factually accurate, Michale, then there have so far been at least three Republicans who have stated that the objective of the House Select Committee on Benghazi is specifically to damage HRC's campaign.

    One of them is the second highest-ranked Republican in the House, the Majority Leader. Being a member of the first tier of House Republican leadership, McCarthy can be surely be relied upon to know first hand what is happening on his watch. Yet you insist it is just an opinion. Do you think everyone has hidden from McCarthy the true purpose for this select committee so he has to guess? That sounds highly unlikely given his status.

    In addition to the three whistle-blowers, Gowdy has been cited in an ethics complaint in addition to being served a cease-and-desist order on top of a lawsuit. These are facts too.

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    If you are going to be factually accurate, Michale, then there have so far been at least three Republicans who have stated that the objective of the House Select Committee on Benghazi is specifically to damage HRC's campaign.

    No, there has not... If you want to go outside of Congress, then there is 2...

    And the one outside of Congress is a terminated employee looking for pay-back and monetary gain..

    Would YOU trust someone like that if they were saying things about Democrats?? Of course you wouldn't...

    No, there is only 1 Republican who has rendered an ignorant opinion.. He is not in a position to know ANYTHING about the issue..

    McCarthy simply stated what is obviously the RESULT of the Benghazi hearing... He said ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the goal of the Benghazi..

    NOTHING... ZERO... ZILCH.... NADA...

    So, ya'all have ONE ignorant Republican to hang your hat on..

    On the other side of the scale is the sterling reputation of Goudy....

    Sorry, your position is not credible..

    Having said that, your complaint is that the Republicans are using the Benghazi Hearings for their political advantage..

    Is that EXACTLY what you, Hillary and Democrats are doing!?? EXACTLY!???

    That's what ya'all and Democrats did with the 9/11 Hearings, the Abu Ghraib Hearings and the Iraq War II Hearings..

    Democrats used those hearings to their political advantage..

    Hell, Democrats even explicitly STATED that they were using the Roseburg OR shooting to their political advantage..

    And ya'all have a PROBLEM with Republicans using events to their political advantage??

    REALLY???

    Mr Pot, meet Mr Kettle... :D

    Michale

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    In addition to the three whistle-blowers, Gowdy has been cited in an ethics complaint in addition to being served a cease-and-desist order on top of a lawsuit. These are facts too.

    Who made the complaint??

    Don't tell me, let me guess. A Democrat.. :D

    Here's a perfect way to settle this debate..

    Change the political Party of each and everyone involved..

    Would YOU accept the arguments you are making??

    Of course not.... And rightly so....

    Michale

  11. [11] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Clinton Vs. Bush II, Benghazi, emails. Ugh is right.
    At least someone else still believes in the promise of America.
    Bernie supporters should not give up yet, but they should hedge their bet by participating in Voucher Vendetta. It is the only campaign financing approach that can be effective in the 2016 elections because it can be implemented under current election law. All it requires is minimal citizen participation so citizens do not have to become political zealots to participate.
    There are enough Bernie supporters to get this started and for it to be effective in 2016 whether or not Bernie gets the Democratic presidential nomination or wins the general election. When it is started by the Bernie zealots many citizens that don't normally participate except for voting in the general election will participate in Voucher Vendetta including the primary elections because it only requires minimal participation.
    These are the people that Bernie needs to be successful but there is no way that these people are going to become zealots. And if Bernie is not successful in 2016 this campaign financing approach will destroy the gerrymandered districts that protect incumbents and replace anywhere form 20 to 50 congressmen and/or senators that are beholden to the Big Money contributors with legislators that will represent average citizens because their campaigns will be financed by average citizens.
    This will result in more citizens participating in Voucher Vendetta in 2018 and future elections which will result in more districts in these future elections with competitive "hundred dollar candidates". Then a candidate such as Bernie could be successful in 2020.
    More info at http://www.vouchervendetta.org

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/rep-jim-jordan-goes-after-hillary-whered-the-false-narrative-start-it-started-with-you/

    Squirm, Rhymes-With-Witch, Squirm!!

    It's no wonder that over 60% of Americans describe Hillary with one word..

    *LIAR*

    And this liar is the BEST Democrats have to offer??

    That's just sad....

    Michale

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    I remember precisely what was going on here in Weigantia... Mitchy (remember him??) and the rest of ya'all were going on and on about some mythical YouTube video and I was stating explicitly from the get-go that this was a planned and co-ordinated terrorist attack..

    Boy, was I slammed and ridiculed at every turn..

    And yet, it turned out that I was 1000% dead on ballz accurate and ya'all had egg on yer faces and had to ingest massive amounts of crow... :D

    Nothing more annoying than an arrogant winner, eh? :D

    "OF COURSE I'm arrogant!!! I've EARNED it!!"
    -Q

    :D

    Michale

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    In other news...

    OBAMA VETOES $612 BILLION DEFENSE BILL IN REBUKE TO GOP
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_OBAMA_DEFENSE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2015-10-22-16-04-52

    Obama shuts down the United States Military solely, utterly and unequivocally for partisan reasons..

    Now we'll see if Democrats will step up and do the right thing for this country and override the Messiah's veto.....

    Or side with Obama's ego... AGAIN...

    Michale

  15. [15] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    Michale, since you like the poll result stories on Mediaite, here's another one for you: http://www.mediaite.com/online/poll-half-of-republicans-say-benghazi-committee-is-political/

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    Mopshell,

    It's as political as every hearing Democrats have ever run..

    Abu Ghraib

    Iraq War

    9/11

    etc etc ect ad nasuem...

    But here's the thing and there is just NO getting around it.

    Which Party, in recent days, has ADMITTED that they want to blatantly politicize a tragedy??

    I'll give you a hint..

    It's NOT the Republican Party..

    Michale

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    https://youtu.be/-7hjf2zgp2c

    Looks like ya'alls choice for POTUS is choking on her own testimony..

    Not even HILLARY can swallow what she is spewing.. :D

    Michale

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    And ya'all were whining and complaining about the cost of the Benghazi hearings??

    Democrats spent more on origami condoms and studies why lesbians are obese...

    Yea... 'Cause folded condoms and fat lesbians are SOO much more important than finding out why 4 Americans were brutally murdered and why our POTUS and SecState tried to cover it up...

    Democrat Party priorities at work.. :^/

    Michale

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    This is really the lowest of the low..

    Hillary blames Ambassador Stevens for the attack....

    Yea, nothing like blaming the victim, eh Hillary... :^/

    That's REALLY low.. Even for Clinton..

    Michale

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    While we can't ask the dead what they think of Hillary Clinton (They died on her watch, remember??) we can ask the families of those killed what THEY think of Hillary Clinton...

    "Serial Liar"

    Once again, the question has to be asked..

    Is THIS the best the Democrat Party has to offer???

    Michale

  21. [21] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    Michale,

    Your contention is that all hearings are political just by the fact of them being held in the first place. Therefore, we should get rid of all Congressional investigations. I'm totally in favor of that, particularly because the Democrats have shown absolutely no interest in holding anyone accountable for their actions.

    One case in point is their failure to go after the bankers complicit in causing the 2008 recession. Iceland, on the other hand, just jailed 26 bankers to a combined 74 years in prison. They also bailed out the victims of the recession, not the banks. They've been the only country to do so and the one country fully recovered from the recession.

    As for your argument that the Democrats should have compromised with Republicans to avoid the 2013 government shutdown, explain to us how what that compromise could have been. The Republicans were demanding that the ACA be defunded. What would a compromise position have been?

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    Your contention is that all hearings are political just by the fact of them being held in the first place.

    Not at all..

    It was CLEAR that Democrat's hearings were political..

    I mean, Abu Ghraib?? Nothing worse than college hazing??

    Please...

    As for your argument that the Democrats should have compromised with Republicans to avoid the 2013 government shutdown, explain to us how what that compromise could have been. The Republicans were demanding that the ACA be defunded. What would a compromise position have been?

    Add to the ACA the items that Democrats PROMISED would be added would be a good compromise...

    Democrats said NO...

    Because NO COMPROMISE is possible with Democrats...

    Michale

  23. [23] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    The Republicans would not have accepted any changes to the ACA. They wanted to defund it 100%. You can't compromise with that kind of demand, Michale.

    And I repeat: I am totally in favor of banning ALL congressional investigations. These people are not qualified to investigate anything and the temptation to misuse taxpayer funds is obviously just too great. They've broken the law but will not hold themselves accountable. Therefore they should give up the whole process. It's a waste of money and time.

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    The Republicans would not have accepted any changes to the ACA. They wanted to defund it 100%. You can't compromise with that kind of demand, Michale.

    Well, we'll never know, will we??

    And I repeat: I am totally in favor of banning ALL congressional investigations. These people are not qualified to investigate anything and the temptation to misuse taxpayer funds is obviously just too great. They've broken the law but will not hold themselves accountable. Therefore they should give up the whole process. It's a waste of money and time.

    I'll remind you of that next time Dems are in control and go ape sheet with their hearings and such.. :D

    Michale

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    The Republicans would not have accepted any changes to the ACA. They wanted to defund it 100%. You can't compromise with that kind of demand, Michale.

    Besides... Considering how TrainWreckCare came into being, what with parliamentary trickery, backroom deals and kickbacks amongst Democrats, can you honestly BLAME the GOP for their attitude??

    The time for compromise was WHILE the legislation was in the debate phase..

    You can't have Democrats having a "MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY" attitude during the creation phase and then complain that GOP is having the same attitude AFTER the BY HOOK OR BY CROOK legislation has been forced thru....

    It's not logical...

    Michale

  26. [26] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    LizM [1] -

    I have a lot of heartfelt feeling for you upon hearing Biden's decision. Because you have been such a staunch supporter of this site, I have to admit that the first thing that went through my mind was "How will LizM react?"

    You have been a steady Biden supporter through thick and thin, and I have to applaud you for that. Such political loyalty is almost-unheard of, these days. Biden's foreign policy experience has likely influenced Obama for the better, for the past six or seven years, and you've always been his biggest fan here.

    Michale [13] -

    And yet, for all of that, despite the "skewed polls" of Karl Rove, Obama won re-election. Keep that in mind, heading into 2016.

    Heh.

    -CW

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    And yet, for all of that, despite the "skewed polls" of Karl Rove, Obama won re-election. Keep that in mind, heading into 2016.

    And yet, despite all the "skewed polls" the Republicans nuclearly DECIMATED the Democrats in 2014..

    Yer preaching to the choir about polls..

    But, if you can convince me that Hillary is HALF the candidate that Obama was, you'll have a point..

    "Edwards, if you were HALF the man I was...."
    "What are you talkin' 'bout.. I AM half the man you are.."

    -MEN IN BLACK

    :D

    Michale

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