Democrats' left flank coalesces around Biden — driven by hatred of Trump

Democrats' left flank coalesces around Biden — driven by hatred of Trump
Image via Screengrab.

New polling shows that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden isn't suffering from the defections among the party's left flank that helped hobble Hillary Clinton's candidacy in 2016. In fact, Biden's most loyal cohort in the polling is voters who formerly supported Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the Democratic primary.

Warren supporters said they planned to vote for Biden over Donald Trump by a margin of 96% to 0%, in the New York Times/Siena polls of six battleground states (including Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida, Arizona, and North Carolina). That level of loyalty edged out even Biden's own primary supporters, who say they support Biden over Trump, 96% to 1%.

And frankly, voters who backed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders weren't far behind, now saying they'll vote for Biden over Trump 87% to 4%. In 2016, just 74% of Bernie supporters backed Clinton while 12% voted Trump, according to the Cooperative Congressional Election Study. As the Times' Nate Cohn writes, "If there was a Bernie-or-Bust movement, it has either faded with the conclusion of the Democratic race, or it never existed in serious numbers in the battleground states."

Once more, Warren supporters indicated the highest likelihood they would vote in November, with 72% of them saying they were "almost certain to vote." That again topped Biden supporters, 70% of whom put their intention to vote at the highest levels. Sanders supporters were slightly less sure, with 64% saying they would almost certainly vote.

Nearly three-quarters of Biden (75%) and Warren (70%) supporters say they are "very enthusiastic" about voting, while only 47% of Sanders supporters said the same. But when it comes to Biden himself, only 40% of Warren supporters say they have a "very favorable" view of him, while just 21% of Sanders supporters say that.

One thing that animates both Bernie and Warren supporters is a visceral hatred for Trump. By a 43-point margin, Sanders supporters say they are mainly voting against Trump (69% to 26%), while Warren supporters say the same by 61% to 36%.

Interestingly, Biden's support from the party's left flank is slightly higher than that of the party's centrists. The more moderate Democrats who backed Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Michael Bloomberg, taken together, say they will back Biden over Trump 87%-6% (Bernie supporters were 87%-4%). But overall, the moderates account for a smaller share of the Democratic electorate, according to the Times.

Either way, Democrats of all stripes are ready to vote Biden, and many of the party's most progressive voters are counting down the days until they can cast their vote against Trump.

Chart showing Warren supporters backing Biden over Trump, 96%-0, at the top end, and Klobuchar supporters backing Biden over Trump, 82%-9% at the bottom end. Bloomberg supporters were 81%-8%, and Buttigieg supporters were 92%-3%.

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