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Wherein I Temporarily Break My Silence on “The Polls” to Make a Point About Them

For anyone who’s been asking, yes I have been keeping up with “the polls”. In fact, I’ve actually been paying closer attention to the ones that have been released this week. Strangely enough, they seem to be catching up with where I’ve perceived reality to be going in recent weeks.

So what do “the polls” say now, and why am I still hoping you not obsess over them?

First, let’s stay close to home.
Photo by Andrew Davey

So let’s start with the biggest and most relevant news. Monmouth University tends to have a very solid reputation nationally, though they’ve only polled Nevada since 2016 and had some volatile numbers for our state during that cycle. Anyways, their new caucus survey largely mirrors national polls that show former Vice President Joe Biden holding a large-but-not-overwhelming lead over the rest of the field. Here in Nevada, Monmouth has Biden at 36% support, not far from the 33% support they showed for him in their May 23 national survey.

Yet from here on down, it gets a bit more interesting. According to Monmouth, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) has taken the second place slot with 19% support followed by fellow Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) at 13%, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 7%, Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) at 6%, and no one else topping 5%.

Photo by Andrew Davey

While Buttigieg has made it into the top tier of viable contenders here in Nevada and nationally, it’s interesting how other “buzzy” candidates have already been flaming out and fading fast. And while Sanders remains in the game, all the talk of Warren and other progressive women being “unelectable” has resulted… In Warren persisting on the campaign trail, all the way into rising poll numbers.

This Monmouth poll of our state comes on the heels of a few recent national polls showing good news for Democrats overall. Quinnipiac University is another highly rated pollster, and Quinnipiac’s new national survey shows President Donald Trump scoring no better than 42% against any of the Democrats they tested against him, and Trump losing to all of them. And for anyone thinking Quinnipiac just produced a strange outlier, recent reports revealed that Trump’s own internal polls showed him falling behind Democrats last month in “swing states” like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Texas.

Now, let’s zoom out some more.
Photo by Andrew Davey

Getting back to Quinnipiac, they also released national Democratic primary numbers with Biden at 30%, Sanders at 19%, Warren at 16%, Buttigieg at 8%, Harris at 6%, and no one else clearing 5%. And new numbers from The Economist and YouGov show a fairly similar trend, with Biden at 26%, Warren at 16%, Sanders at 12%, Buttigieg at 8%, Harris at 6%, and no one else reaching 5%.

So after trying my best to avoid talk of “the polls” on these pages, why are we talking about them today? For months, pundits have been pointing to “the polls” as proof that one Democrat is more “electable” than all the others and/or one of them has an “insurmountable” lead over the others. Considering where “the polls” stood around this point in the 2004 and 2008 cycles, Biden’s early lead is noticeable but far from “insurmountable”. And for all the ink being spilled over who’s the most “electable”, Trump is at risk of losing (possibly even losing “bigly”) to any of these Democrats running.

So as I’ve been saying here for months, don’t worry about immeasurable and unfairly defined buzzwords like “electability”. Do, however, ask these candidates what their plan is to not just defeat Trump, but reverse the conditions that caused the rise of Trumpism. There, rant over (for now).

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