Pundits weighing in on the former vice-president’s Senate win tried to inject optimism – but it didn’t seem to last
Americans aren’t feeling relief from Biden’s big Washington victory
A few jubilant tweets erupted this morning after news broke that Joe Biden won a Democratic primary in Delaware – a telling indication that he had defeated his nearest primary rival, Tina Smith, easily. But there was no mass-awakening of national optimism, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.
It would appear that a combination of uncertainty about whether Democrats could actually win in November (they probably could, though it’s hard to tell) and also a post-general election hangover still being felt from Hillary Clinton’s near-miss in 2016, were holding back Americans from looking too far forward.
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About one-third of 1,498 respondents in the poll, taken last week, said they were happy that Biden won the Delaware primary. Twenty-nine% of respondents were unhappy, with 39% saying they’d be neutral.
Though victory was expected for Biden, there was considerable gnashing of teeth from left-leaning pundits and others who worried that they may have unwittingly reinforced the idea that the Democratic party is going to select a moderate.
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Two-thirds of respondents were unhappy about Biden’s stance on gun control – a topic that has been among his biggest vulnerabilities. “I believe America can be a place for a strong gun-control bill and I want Joe Biden to be President. But I cannot support his rhetoric and positions,” wrote Matthew C, a 39-year-old retail sales manager in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Others felt good about Biden’s leadership style, but that the results of the election were unfortunate. “I don’t think this is a referendum on Joe Biden,” wrote Daniel H, a 37-year-old nurse practitioner in Garland, Texas. “I think it’s because no one else stood out. It’s tough to imagine what we could do.”
The majority of respondents had little hope that Obama would choose Biden as his successor (17%) or did not know. Biden failed to increase his lead in the poll, staying true to historical trends. His lead over Smith in the Democratic nomination contest never exceeded 6 points, and his victory margin this time was 8 points.