Politics

Why a top Democratic pollster is urging Joe Biden to pick Elizabeth Warren as his running mate

“I think the data is clear."

Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren shake hands before the start of a Democratic presidential primary debate in New Hampshire. Charles Krupa / AP

Sen. Elizabeth Warren didn’t manage a first or second place finish — even in her home state of Massachusetts — during her time in the 2020 primary race.

But a renowned Democratic strategist thinks Warren’s presence on the party’s ticket with presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden is the key to winning the general election.

Stan Greenberg — a pollster known for famously studying “Reagan Democrats” and working with world leaders from Bill Clinton to Nelson Mandela — is urging Biden’s campaign to pick Warren as his vice presidential nominee, according to a Politico report Thursday.

“I think the data is clear,” he told the outlet.

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According to Politico, Greenberg presented top Biden campaign officials  two battleground surveys conducted by his firm earlier this month making the case that the former vice president’s biggest problem headed into the general election against Republican President Donald Trump was unifying the Democratic party around him, after unapologetically casting himself as the more moderate alternative to the progressive populist campaigns of Sen. Bernie Sanders and Warren. According to the polls, Biden actually is further behind with Sanders supporters than Hillary Clinton was at a similar point in the cycle in 2016. Whereas 15 percent of the Vermont senator’s supporters said they wouldn’t vote for Clinton according to a July 2016 poll, Greenberg’s firm found that 20 percent said they wouldn’t vote for Biden.

Other polls have found similar levels of skepticism among Sanders supporters, following months of hard-fought policy debates over health care and other government reforms.

“The biggest threat to Democrats in 2020 is the lack of support and disengagement of millennials and the fragmentation of non-Biden primary voters,” Greenberg wrote in an accompanying slide presentation titled, “The Obvious Solution,” according to Politico.

For Greenberg, putting Warren — and her core message about addressing a “rigged” system — on the ticket would be the easiest way to bring the party together.

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His analysis also appears to be backed up by the somewhat surprising results of a Morning Consult poll released Wednesday.

While Warren struggled to expand her appeal beyond white, affluent, college-educated voters during the primary race, the new poll this week found that she had the biggest net positive impact on Biden’s candidacy — especially among young, Black, and Hispanic voters — compared to other prospective candidates, including former primary rivals like California Sen. Kamala Harris and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Warren, however, also benefited from being the “best known of the potential candidates listed in the survey.”

Biden, who has committed to picking a female running mate, said Wednesday that he plans to announce his selection around Aug. 1.

Warren has said she’d be willing to be Biden’s running mate, despite their stylistic differences and long-running policy disagreements. The New York Times also reported last week that she has been calling former President Barack Obama to make clear she is willing to do whatever necessary to help Biden.

Greenberg told Politico that he has never worked for Warren; his clients include more moderate political figures like Bill Clinton and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, as well as cooperations like Boeing, BP, and  Microsoft. But as Politico reported, Greenberg reportedly got to know Warren during a handful of policy dinners with his wife, Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro, with whom the Bay State senator has often collaborated on legislation.

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His briefing to the Biden campaign, which was first reported earlier this month by the Times, comes as the presumptive nominee tries to appeal to the left in the aftermath of the at-times bitter primary. Some progressives say putting Warren on the ticket must be part of that effort.

While some of the most hardcore Sanders supporters remain wary of Warren, other campaign leaders have openly promoted her. California Rep. Ro Khanna, who was an early endorser and co-chair of Sanders’s 2020 presidential campaign, recently wrote on Twitter that Biden should pick Warren, citing her work and influence on the latest coronavirus relief bill passed by House Democrats.

“She needs to be on the ticket,” Khanna wrote.

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