As secret squirrel and I have been saying, Biden's popularity seems to be with people who don't identify as on the left. (Even after accepting the USA's redefinition of 'liberal' as a left rather than centrist position).Liberals back Sanders 52% to 36%, while those who consider themselves moderate or conservative give Biden a 65% to 24% lead. Self-identified Democrats break 55% to 32% for Biden, while independents are about evenly split, 46% for Sanders to 45% for Biden. An education gap among white voters that seemed to be driven by white college voters' tendency to choose candidates other than these two has faded as the field has shrunk.
The false perception of Biden as more electable than Sanders seems to be the main thing hurting Sanders' campaign:
This concords with the national polling posted above, showing that both candidates would beat Trump.About two-thirds of Democratic voters say they prefer a candidate with a strong chance of beating Donald Trump (65%), the largest share to say so in CNN polling in the last year, while 29% say they prefer one who agrees with them on major issues. These voters take opposite views on the race between Biden and Sanders: 59% in the beat Trump camp choose Biden and 53% on the issues side choose Sanders.
Still, there's little to suggest a major backlash no matter who ultimately wins the party's nomination. About nine in 10 voters who are Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents say they would ultimately support each candidate in November, regardless of their support in the primary. And three-quarters of Democratic voters (74%) -- including 78% of those who prioritize beating Trump -- say they are confident the party will nominate someone with a strong chance to defeat the President.
Notably, there is considerable appetite for profound systemic change in the USA:
There is a lot of anger in the country, and campaigning for Sanders over 8 years has created a network of organised, often angry, mostly young, mostly working-class people. I don't think that that will go away with a Biden nomination. The Sanders campaign has been endorsing downticket nominations, so has the potential for effecting some change at lower levels - but what will be really interesting is if it starts to introduce ideas about working-class solidarity, unionisation, strike action etc. into US workplaces.But the poll suggests Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters are not merely looking for someone to hit the reset button on the Trump era. Asked whether it should be a higher priority for the next president to restore the government to the way it was before Trump took office or to go beyond restoration to make major changes to the way the government works, 72% choose major changes, just 25% restoration. Even among Biden supporters, 58% say it is more important to make major changes to move beyond where the government was before Trump.
About two-thirds of Americans (66%) and 8 in 10 Democratic or Democratic-leaning voters (83%) say they do not feel well represented by the government in Washington now. Among Sanders' supporters, that rises to 88%, including 57% who say they feel not at all represented by the government in Washington.
Obviously that's an uphill battle in such an individualistic culture. But these are people who can't just forget about politics for 3.5 years like a lot of Biden supporters, and who will not feel represented by the political system. I don't think a Biden nomination would bode well for "uniting the country" - it alienates everybody left-of-centre.