A survey released on Wednesday indicates that 41 percent of registered voters see former Vice President Joe Biden as “more liberal” than themselves.
The survey, which was conducted by Politico and Morning Consult between June 26 and June 29, polled 1,984 registered voters nationwide. It shows that Biden, who has taken the lead over President Donald Trump nationally, is viewed by a plurality of voters as holding positions that may be considered out of the political mainstream.
Overall, 41 percent of registered voters said the former vice president was more liberal than they were, while 27 percent stated Biden’s positions were “about the same” as their own. Only 12 percent, on the other hand, claimed that Biden was “more conservative,” with a further 20 percent either not having an opinion or not knowing enough to have formed one.
When further broken down, similar results were seen across all the demographics surveyed, with 44 percent of male voters and 38 percent of women voters claiming Biden was more liberal. It was also especially noticeable when the results were filtered by age, although not uniformly. Older voters, in particular, were more likely to say that Biden’s views were to the left of their own.
Among respondents 65 years of age and older, 47 percent said the former vice president was more liberal. Likewise, 46 percent of respondents between the ages of 45 and 64 said the same. Biden did slightly better with younger voters, with only 34 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 34 saying he was more liberal. The last figure was nearly mirrored among respondents between 35 and 44 years of age, 36 percent of whom thought Biden was more liberal.
There was also a trend with voters that Biden needs to win November if he has any hope of unseating Trump. Approximately 40 percent of non-college-educated voters said Biden was more liberal than they were. Such voters had been a mainstay of the Democrat Party for decades before heavily favoring Trump in 2016, in part due to the president’s populist message on trade and immigration. While running for the Democrat nomination, Biden pitched himself as the only candidate who could help the party bring such voters back into the fold. The poll, though, seems to indicate that the former vice president does not have a lock on such voters.
Similarly, 43 percent of suburban voters claimed the former vice president’s views were to the left of their own. The number was closer to the 46 percent of rural voters who said he was more liberal, rather than the 32 percent of urban voters who said the same. Suburban voters, many of whom for years backed Republican presidential candidates, have increasingly moved left in recent elections. The shift was on display in 2016 and 2018, when some of the biggest suburbs across the country abandoned the GOP, supporting moderate Democrats at the federal level. For Biden to have a strong chance at winning the White House, he will need to hit comparable numbers in suburban counties across states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. It is unclear if he will be able to do so given the findings of the survey.
The results come as the former vice president is attempting to unify Democrats ahead of the general election. Biden, who campaigned for the Democrat nomination as an unabashed moderate, has moved to the left on certain political positions in hopes of pacifying supporters of his one-time rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). As such, Biden has adopted some of the policies once championed by Sanders, and progressives like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), including lowering the age of Medicaid eligibility to 60 and partial student loan forgiveness.