Biden’s lead and name recognition

Joe Biden is the clear front-runner in the 2020 Democratic presidential election campaign. Emily Larsen of the Washington Examiner ponders whether that lead is based solely on name recognition.

Joe Biden’s lead in early Democratic presidential primary polls is in part due to name recognition, a point underscored by several attendees at his New Hampshire events this week who struggled to name even some of the other nearly two-dozen candidates in the race.

A Monmouth University poll of likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters released in the days before the former vice president’s first trip to New Hampshire found that he holds 36% support in the crowded field. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who won New Hampshire primary in 2016, was in second place at 18%.

Independent pollster John Zogby said that it is hard to determine exactly how much of Biden’s lead is due to how well known he is, but “to be sure, Biden gets a huge head start from name recognition and that is how it works this early.”

Unlike attendees that the Washington Examiner spoke with at campaign stops for former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., many of those at Biden’s events found it difficult to name other candidates in the race.

Barbara Desjardins, 73 and a retired nurse who saw Biden in Hampton on Monday, said that she has “no idea” whom she would vote for besides Biden and that they are all “candidates that no one’s heard about.”

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

Reader Comments