The presidential debates are dead. Two candidates who missed in the last debate are fourth and fifth and in a major poll of likely Democratic presidential primary voters.
In detail, the 21 to 23 January Emerson Poll estimates 8% of Democrats support Andrew Yang (D-New York). Likewise, Emerson estimates 7% of Democrats support former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (?-New York).
Moreover, Emerson estimates one candidate in the 14 January Democratic debate; billionaire Tom Steyer (D-California), received just 1% of popular support. Consequently, I think Emerson’s data shows the debates are meaningless. I think this validates Bloomberg’s decision to ignore the debate.
The Data Proves the Debates are Meaningless
Notably, Emerson’s data shows two candidates who participated in the last debate lost support between December 2019 and January 2020. However, two candidates not at the debate saw their poll numbers improve.
To clarify, former Vice President Joe Biden (D-Delaware) saw his support drop from 32% in December to 30% in January. Plus, Pete Buttigieg (D-Indiana) saw his support fall from 8% in December to 7% in January.
Conversely, Yang’s support rose from 6% in December to 8% in January. Meanwhile, Bloomberg’s support more than doubled. Emerson had Bloomberg at 3% in December and 7% in January.
Is it a New Campaign for a New Century?
Importantly, Yang’s internet and media strategy is working. Thus, the campaign could quickly turn into a four race between U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Biden, Yang, and Bloomberg.
Therefore, we could see a presidential campaign in which debates; and early primary states, do not matter. Instead, I think media strategy, digital strategy, and Super Tuesday will shape the primary.
Therefore, the Democratic primary will resemble the Republican primary system. Remember President Donald J. Trump (R-Florida) lost the 2016 Iowa caucus and did poorly at the debates but won the primary. Thus, Bloomberg or Yang could lose badly in Iowa and New Hampshire but win the nomination.
A Few Takeaways from the Emerson Poll
A few more takeaways from Emerson’s January 2020 Democratic Primary/Caucus poll include:
- There is no strong Democratic candidate. Only 30% of likely primary voters support the “front runner” Joe Biden.
- Bernie Sanders is gaining some support but not enough to dominate. Sanders support rose from 25% in December to 27% in January so he is gaining on Biden.
- The media’s claims about Liz Warren’s slide are exaggerated. Warren’s support rose slightly from 12% in December to 13% in January.
- Pete Buttigieg is no longer a serious candidate. His support fell from 8% in December to 6% in January. I predict Buttigieg will drop out if does not do well in Iowa.
- Bloomberg is the strongest of the lesser candidates his support more than doubled from 3% in December to 7% in January.
- Yang is a strong contender his support rose from 6% in December to 8% in January. I think Yang is now within striking range of Warren.
- There will be strong pressure on Warren to drop out and endorse Bernie or Biden.
- U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) will drop out if she does not well in Iowa. Klobuchar’s support rose from 2% in December to 4% in January.
- Moderate Democrats cannot win. If you add the three most prominent moderates; Biden, Buttigieg’s, and Klobuchar, numbers’ together you get 40%. Add Yang, Bernie, and Warren’s numbers and you get 48%.
- Bloomberg could be the kingmaker. The only way moderates could win is to get Bloomberg’s 7%. However, adding Bloomberg, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar’s numbers, equals 47%.
- Sanders or Biden could have to make a deal with Bloomberg to get the nomination. Therefore, Vice President Bloomberg is a strong possibility.
The Emerson Poll shows the old song lyrics are true: “the times they are a changing.” I think the 2020 Democratic Primary will not look like any primary in recent memory.