Welcome to 2020 Vision, the Yahoo News column covering the presidential race. Reminder: There are 199 days until the Iowa caucuses and 472 days until the 2020 presidential election.
A month after Joe Biden was attacked by Sen. Kamala Harris over his record on race at the first Democratic presidential debate, the former vice president appears to have steadied himself, according to new polling released this week. And one national poll, released by Fox News, appears to have gotten under President Trump’s skin.
According to CNN’s poll of polls, which averages the results of the most recent national surveys, Biden (30 percent) has opened up a wide lead over Sens. Elizabeth Warren (16 percent), Bernie Sanders (14 percent) and Harris (12 percent), who has slipped back to fourth place from second. The California senator shot up to 17 percent in the same poll immediately following the first debate, then trailing Biden by just 8 points. She now trails him by 18.
More encouraging for Team Biden is his lead in South Carolina, a state in which Harris has campaigned extensively. According to a Monmouth University survey of likely Democratic primary voters conducted earlier this week, Biden (39 percent) holds a commanding advantage over Harris (12 percent), who is followed by Sanders (10 percent) and Warren (9 percent). Notably, Biden has retained his strength among African-American voters, even over Harris, who is African-American: He leads there with 51 percent over Harris, at 12 percent.
And according to a Quinnipiac University poll released this week, Biden (50 percent) is the only candidate in the Democratic field who has more support than Trump (42 percent) among voters in Ohio. Trump has a 1-point edge (46 percent to 45 percent) over Sanders and Warren in Ohio in those theoretical general election matchups, while he is tied with Harris there.
Biden also has the edge over Trump in Florida (50 percent to 41 percent), Pennsylvania (53 percent to 42 percent) and even Texas (48 percent to 44 percent), Quinnipiac found.
But the poll that caught Trump’s attention was this one.
According to a Fox News survey released Thursday, Biden leads the president by 10 points (49 percent to 39 percent) among registered voters. Sanders holds a 6-point advantage over Trump (46 percent to 40 percent), but that’s within the poll’s plus-or-minus 3-point margin of error.
Trump predictably took the results in stride, with the philosophical calm with which he treats all bad news.
".@FoxNews is at it again," Trump tweeted. "So different from what they used to be during the 2016 Primaries, & before — Proud Warriors! Now new Fox Polls, which have always been terrible to me (they had me losing BIG to Crooked Hillary), have me down to Sleepy Joe.”
“Even considering the fact that I have gone through a three year vicious Witch Hunt, perpetrated by the Lamestream Media in Collusion with Crooked and the Democrat Party, there can be NO WAY, with the greatest Economy in U.S. history, that I can be losing to the Sleepy One,” the president added. “KEEP AMERICA GREAT!"
Next week will bring the second round of Democratic primary debates, with 20 candidates taking the stage in Detroit over two nights on CNN. This is almost certainly the last time many candidates will participate (more on that below), so here are a few things to consider going into next week’s event:
The biggest question on night one, Tuesday, is whether Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren will fight one another for the support of progressive voters or instead provide a united front on the issues where they agree. They will be surrounded by moderates who don’t share their support for Medicare for all, including Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and former Rep. John Delaney, meaning plenty of opportunities for the two New England senators to debate the issue.
If Sanders and Warren work together, perhaps the main point of contention will come between former Rep. Beto O’Rourke and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg. O’Rourke was a favorite of pundits and big donors early in the race, but his fundraising and poll numbers have slipped while Buttigieg has surged with a lucrative second quarter of fundraising. Will O’Rourke try to regain ground at Buttigieg’s expense? Tuesday night will also be the primary debate debut of Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, who failed to qualify for the first set after a late campaign launch and now takes the place of Rep. Eric Swalwell, who dropped out to focus on his reelection in California. If you enjoyed the insights of spiritualist and author Marianne Williamson the first time around, she’s also in the first grouping of candidates.
The potential for fireworks on night two is quite high. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who continues to lead in most polling, will be joined on the stage by two rivals happy to target his lengthy record. Sen. Kamala Harris went after Biden’s record on school busing last month and saw a postdebate increase in polling and fundraising, a likely incentive for her to renew her attacks. Sen. Cory Booker, who lags in polling, has been going at Biden over his record on criminal justice policy, including his support for the 1994 crime bill. Biden’s campaign replied by sniping at Booker’s record on crime when he was mayor of Newark, N.J.
“Since next week’s debate format will give Senator Booker twice as much time to make his attacks than it allows Vice President Biden to respond to them, we thought we would begin to respond now,” said Biden communications director Kate Bedingfeld in a statement this week. Wednesday night will also feature former Housing Secretary Julián Castro, who also received positive reviews and a bump in donations from the first set of debates, along with entrepreneur Andrew Yang, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
As mentioned above, next week is the final time you’re going to see many of these candidates on a debate stage unless they have a breakout moment. The threshold to participate in September’s debates are a lot higher than the initial forums: 130,000 individual donors and hitting 2 percent or more in four polls approved by the Democratic National Committee. This is the last chance many of the candidates will get in front of a large national audience, and they’ll be looking for a way to create a viral moment — which is often achieved by going after a bigger name.
The second round of Democratic primary debates will air on CNN, July 30 and 31 at 8 p.m. ET.
Speaking of debates, the Democratic National Committee has taken heat from environmentalists and progressives for not planning a forum focused on global warming and climate change.
Enter CNN, which announced this week it will host a town hall in September focused on the climate crisis.
The Sept. 4 event in New York City will feature candidates who meet the DNC's 2 percent polling threshold for its September debates.
Eight candidates have met that threshold so far: Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O'Rourke, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, whose entire campaign is focused on combating climate change, has not.
Inslee will, however, get a chance to debate climate change at a separate two-day climate-focused forum hosted by the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service in partnership with MSNBC in September. According to the Daily Beast, "every single presidential candidate — Republicans included — has been invited to participate" at the event, scheduled for Sept. 19 and 20.
Trump won't let Mueller go
President Trump’s disdain for Fox News over its poll results didn’t extend to his favorite talk-show host. In what was billed as an exclusive interview a day after former special counsel Robert Mueller's appearance on Capitol Hill, Trump called into Sean Hannity's primetime show on Fox News Thursday night. Except it wasn't an interview. "I'm just going to open it up to you to go wherever you want with this," Hannity told Trump at the beginning of the call.
The president, who lashed out at reporters on the South Lawn after Mueller's testimony, was still seething over the Russia probe.
"It was a disgrace to our country," Trump said. "It was a disgrace from every standpoint and I would say that most people have never seen anything like it. And then on top of it, you watch that performance, it was — it was shocking and very sad."
[Yahoo 360: What's the fallout from Mueller's testimony?]
"This should never happen to another president of the United States again," Trump said of the Russia investigation. "This is an absolute catastrophe for our country. This was a fake witch hunt and it should never be allowed to happen to another president again.
"This was treason," he added. "This was high crimes."
In case there’s any confusion, this was an accusation by Trump, not a confession.
By the numbers
— The number of Americans who watched the Mueller hearings, according to Nielsen; 19.5 million watched former FBI Director James Comey testify before Congress in June 2017
— The number of donations Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has received, according to her campaign; among Democrats, only Bernie Sanders has more
— The number of points by which Joe Biden leads President Trump in a new Fox News poll
"Donald Trump is a raging racist, OK? He's a complete and thoroughgoing racist."
— Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who is the only Republican to launch a primary challenge against Trump, at the NAACP's annual convention
"His police department was stopping and frisking people, mostly African-American men."
— Joe Biden responding to criticism of his record on race by Sen. Cory Booker, a former mayor of Newark, N.J.
"I'm not going to be as polite this time."
— Biden on his approach to next week's Democratic debate
"It was sort of good television."
— President Trump, to Fox News' Sean Hannity, on watching the Mueller hearings
"Some things are above politics."
— Elizabeth Warren criticizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her reluctance to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump
"The only way he’s leaving office, at least at this point, is by being voted out."
— House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, downplaying the prospects of Trump's impeachment after the Mueller hearings
"They're doing it as we sit here."
— Former special counsel Robert Mueller's testimony on Russia's continuing attempts to interfere in U.S. elections
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