Biden, Harris, Sanders and Warren defeat President Trump in new head-to-head matchups

"It's a long 17 months to Election Day, but Joe Biden is ahead by landslide proportions," Tim Malloy says

Matthew Rozsa
June 12, 2019 7:35PM (UTC)

New polls could spell bad news for President Donald Trump. In hypothetical head-to-head matchups, the commander-in-chief would lose to all of the current frontrunners for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

Former Vice President Joe Biden performed better against Trump in a head-to-head matchup than any of his competitors, besting him by a margin of 53 percent to 40 percent, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.


"It's a long 17 months to Election Day, but Joe Biden is ahead by landslide proportions," Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a news release.

The next best performance came from Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who bested Trump by 51 percent to 42 percent. He was followed by Sen. Kamala Harris of California, who was ahead of Trump by 49 percent to 41 percent. (That's the same popular vote margin by which former President Bill Clinton defeated former Sen. Robert Dole of Kansas in the 1996 presidential election). The poll also found that Sen. Warren of Massachusetts was ahead of Trump by a margin of 49 percent to 42 percent.

There were less impressive leads for South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, each of whom squeaked by within the margin of error. Both of them held 47 percent of the vote compared to 42 percent for Trump.


The poll explains that "from June 6 - 10, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,214 voters nationwide with a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points, including the design effect. The survey includes 503 Democrats and Democratic leaners with a margin of error of +/- 5.4 percentage points, including the design effect."

In its analysis of the poll results, CNN noted that both Biden and Sanders have slightly expanded their leads over Trump since 2015, but that there is good reason to believe that the current margins could not hold firm between now and Election Day 2020.

Biden's edge over Trump has increased slightly since 2015, when Quinnipiac first asked about their head-to-head matchup. At that point, 49% said they would support Biden and 37% said Trump. The same is true of Sanders, going up from 44% to Trump's 41% in August 2015 to 51% over 42% now.

But the general election is still a far way off, and anywhere between 4% and 7% of registered voters said they weren't sure who they would vote for, depending on the matchup.

One key X factor in this election is the sheer multitude of Democratic candidates — more than 20 — who are running this year. Although a recent survey of likely Iowa caucus voters found that nearly three-quarters felt there were too many Democrats running in the 2020 primaries, the fact that no debates have been held yet means that someone among the dozen-plus dark horses could theoretically rise from the pack to become a frontrunner by virtue of a strong debate performance. Indeed, Warren and Buttigieg have seen their support in the crucial caucus state of Iowa increase in recent weeks.


For the time being, however, polls consistently show Biden with a considerable edge over his opponents in the bid for the Democratic nomination. The 36-year veteran of the Senate is best-known for his work as vice president under the popular former president Barack Obama, with whom he developed a close and well-known friendship.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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