First things first: The theme song of the week is Live with Regis and Kathie Lee.
Poll of the week: A new Monmouth University poll of New Jersey’s potential Democratic primary voters finds that former Vice President Joe Biden leads the Democratic presidential primary race with 26%. He’s followed by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 20%, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 18% and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker at 9%.
What’s the point: This poll gives you an idea of how much Booker’s campaign is struggling at this moment. It’s one thing not to be leading nationally or in early primary states. It’s another thing entirely to be in a distant fourth place and lower than 10% in the state where you’re a sitting US senator.
But Booker can take comfort in not being alone. Many of his fellow Democrats are also trailing in the Democratic primary polling in their home states:
- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who dropped out of the race on Friday, came in at 0% among both New York state and New York City Democrats, according to a Siena College poll out this week
- California Sen. Kamala Harris has averaged only about 10% in California polls released this month, putting her in fourth.
- Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet is near the back of the pack, with below 5% in an average of Colorado polls this year.
- Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke was tied for third at 12% in a recent Quinnipiac University poll in Texas. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro was at 3% in the same poll.
- Warren hasn’t led in a single poll taken in Massachusetts, though she may be closing the gap.
- South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar were behind in the single non-high quality poll in their home states.
The fact that so many Democratic candidates aren’t winning in their home states is not a good sign. These are the voters who know you best and should be the most behind you.
Indeed, almost every eventual major party nominee since 1980 was leading in their home state in the poll taken closest to this point. The only known exception was Democrat John Kerry in 2003, who was in second place at 23% in Massachusetts. Additionally, there was no polling in Minnesota in 1983, though Walter Mondale was crushing the field at 46% in next door Iowa.
In September 2015, Democrat Hillary Clinton was lapping the field with 45% in a Siena poll of New York Democrats. Republican Donald Trump was well ahead his GOP opponents, too, with 34% among New York Republicans.
Further, Clinton and Trump were actually on the lower end of where a majority of eventual nominees were polling in their home states at this point. The average share in home state polling was 52% for the 14 major party nominees who ran in cycles in which an incumbent was not running for their party’s nomination.
None of the candidates who are behind in their home states are anywhere close to that right now.
The only candidate who we can say with any real certainty is ahead in his home state is Biden. He was well ahead in Delaware last year and has been consistently in the lead in nearby Pennsylvania this year.
Sanders also may be out in front in Vermont, but we have no polling from there.
The fact that so many candidates are polling poorly in their home state speaks in some ways to the nationalization of presidential campaigns. It also speaks to the fact that we have a lot of candidates who are running and just aren’t connecting right now.
For better or worse, this is pretty much the same top tier primary race no matter where you are in this country.