Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign is, to quote NBA Jam, “on fire”. The latest Quinnipiac University national poll out today has Warren at 27% to former Vice President Joe Biden’s 25%.
Now, one poll doesn’t mean much, and Quinnipiac’s result is well within the margin of error, so there’s no clear leader. But when you put Quinnipiac’s latest into the context of other recent polls, it’s pretty clear that Warren is gaining everywhere.
Warren’s national numbers are up since the September primary debate. She comes in with an average of 23% in debate qualifying polls taken after the debate. That’s still behind Biden’s 28%, but not by much. The trendline is what is important here. Warren was at 18% in an average of qualifying national polls taken in September before the debates.
The 5-point climb for Warren post-debate seems to be a continuation of a trend we’ve seen for months.
In an average of debate qualifying polls taken before the first set of debates in June, Warren was 12%. That rose to 16% in July. In other words, Warren’s increasing numbers are the result not of one moment but of many.
What makes Warren’s movement so much more powerful is that it’s not just national. It’s happening in the early caucus and primary states as well.
Warren jumped to 22% in our latest CNN/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll of likely Iowa caucusgoers. Biden was right nearby at 20%, which is within Warren’s margin of error. Again, though, it’s not about whether Warren is leading or not. It’s the long-term trend. In our previous polls, she’s up from 9% in March and 15% in June. For comparison, Biden’s gone in the other direction: 27% in March to 23% in June to 20% now. These trends are backed up by the average of polls.
We’re seeing the same thing in New Hampshire. A Monmouth University poll out Tuesday put Warren at 27% and Biden at 25%, another within-the-margin-of-error result. The trend line, like in Iowa and nationally, is Warren’s friend. She jumped from 8% in May to 27% now. Biden, on the other hand, is down from 36% in May. Other polls in the state show similar movement.
What’s notable in these polls is you see Warren showing signs of life in groups that Biden should be dominating.
Nationally, you can make the argument that Warren is rising with black voters. She reached her highest level of 19% in the Quinnipiac poll. She’s still well behind Biden (who is at 40%), though it’s a far cry from the 10% she was at in Quinnipiac’s August poll. A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll had her up 5 points among black voters from their previous poll. If Warren has any sort of breakthrough with black voters, it could break Biden’s supposed South Carolina firewall.
And in New Hampshire, you see Warren at 31% and Biden at 28% among likely primary voters 65 years and older. This was a group that favored Biden 53% to Warren’s 9% in May.
This crosstab gets at something pivotal about Warren: Unlike Biden or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, she doesn’t have an age gap in her support. That may make it easier for her to unite the Democratic Party.
Now, does any of this mean Warren’s the odds-on-favorite to win the nomination? No. If you were to look at either the Iowa or national polls, her chance of winning either in Iowa or nationally is about 30%. There’s a 70% chance of her not being the nominee, which isn’t surprising, given how many candidates are running.
Further, most caucusgoers and primary voters say they haven’t made up their mind. This is especially true of Warren backers. When you look at only those who say their mind is made up, Biden holds a double-digit advantage over Warren both in Iowa and nationally.
Still, the bottom line is that Warren is in her best position so far to win the nomination – though there is plenty of time to go.