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New polling from ABC News and the Washington Post showed that former Vice President Joe Biden's supporters show the least amount of enthusiam for his candidacy than any other Democratic candidate over the last two decades. (Photo: Marc Nozell/Flickr/cc)

'Poor Omen': Just 24% of Biden's Supporters 'Very Enthusiastic'—Less Than Half of Trump's 53%

"While Republican voters vote for what they believe, no matter how extreme, Democratic voters are perennially playing themselves, voting for what they think other people want."

Julia Conley

Even as former Vice President Joe Biden solidifies his position as the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, a new  ABC News/The Washington Post poll shows fewer than a quarter of Biden's supporters are "very enthusiastic" to vote for him in the general election—a historic low for a Democratic candidate in the survey.

With 24% of Biden's supporters reporting that they are "very enthusiastic" about casting votes for him in November, the former vice president has the lowest level of enthusiastic support of any Democratic candidate in the past two decades, ABC News reported.

Meanwhile, 53% of President Donald Trump's supporters said they were "very enthusiastic" about voting for his re-election in the poll. The poll surveyed 1,003 Americans and had a margin of error of 3.5 points.

Briahna Joy Gray, press secretary to Biden's remaining primary rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), highlighted the fact that the poll follows numerous surveys showing that a majority of Democratic voters are far apart from Biden in terms of their views on a number of policy ideas, including Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, and a generous paid family leave program.

Biden's campaign has been notable for downplaying key bold and progressive policies like Medicare for All, student debt cancellation, a Green New Deal, and robust paid family leave policies—all key planks that have energized and excited younger voters and those who have flocked to Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Biden's campaign has been notable for downplaying key bold and progressive policies like Medicare for All, student debt cancellation, a Green New Deal, and robust paid family leave policies—all key planks that have energized and excited younger voters and others who have flocked to Sanders.

Instead of supporting the candidate who most closely aligns with a majority of voters' views, journalist Branko Marcetic tweeted, Democrats appear to have voted "for what they think other people want," resulting in low enthusiasm for the presumptive nominee.

By contrast, a CNN survey in January that looked at enthusiasm levels of Sanders, Biden, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) supporters found that those backing Sanders were the most excited about their candidate.

Sanders' senior policy advisor, Heather Gautney, tweeted that the latest polling from ABC/Washington Post showed that Biden's campaign must reach out to Sanders' supporters and demonstrate a serious interest in passing broadly popular, progressive reforms should Biden win the general election.

"Quit saying that you would veto Medicare for All," Gautney offered as a piece of advice for Biden.

The poll showed that even when counting voters who are "somewhat enthusiastic" about voting for Trump and Biden, the president currently leads Biden by 12 points: 86% versus 74%. 

The survey contained a "poor omen" for the former vice president, wrote Sofi Sinozich at ABC News, as it mirrors enthusiasm levels for other Democratic candidates who have lost general elections in recent years—including Hillary Clinton, who lost against Trump. 

"There's déjà vu in these results: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton found herself in largely the same position four years ago," wrote Sinozich. "She, too, had a slim lead among Democrats for the nomination and ran essentially evenly with Trump among registered voters. And she lagged in enthusiasm, with a low of 32% very enthusiastic in September 2016. Biden is 8 points under that mark now."

While very low, Sinozich added, enthusiasm levels among supporters of a presumptive nominee have been lower before—but those nominees have gone on to lose the general election:

As few as 17% of former Republican presidential nominee and Arizona Sen. John McCain's supporters were very enthusiastic about his candidacy in 2008, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney saw 23% in 2012. The poor omen for Biden is that Clinton, McCain and Romney all lost.

While some on Twitter criticized progressives and Sanders supporters raising alarm over the new polling results—suggesting doing so would somehow help Trump win in November—Current Affairs editor Nathan Robinson called that response "a misunderstanding."

Journalist Doug Henwood also expressed fears that the poll predicted a similar general election result to 2016.

"You don't put up a candidate even his supporters don't love to beat someone whose supporters worship," Henwood wrote.

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