We're still more than a year away from the next presidential election, but if the polls were open today, there would be a clear front runner, at least in Ohio.
A new poll released by Quinnipiac University shows former Vice President Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump by eight points in Ohio, 50% to 42%. Biden is the only Democratic candidate shown to be beating the Republican incumbent in the survey, with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, California Sen. Kamala Harris, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker all either tied with Trump or losing to him by a single percentage point. 1,431 Ohio voters were randomly surveyed, with a margin of error of +/- 3.2%.
In addition to the hypothetical matchup with Trump, Biden also has a commanding lead in the state's Democratic primary, with 31% of the vote compared to 14% for Harris and Sanders. Warren comes in at 13% followed Buttigieg at 6%. U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, of Ohio's 13th Congressional district, is one of a bevy of candidates polling at just 1%. 556 Democratic or Democratic-leaning voters were asked, for a margin of error of +/- 5.1%.
The numbers are certainly a positive for Biden, who despite some early missteps in the first debate of Democratic candidates still finds himself leading the field of more than 20 candidates nationally. Assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll Peter Brown says the former VP's blue-collar roots are likely playing a roll in his Ohio success, along with "his half century in Democratic politics and almost universal name recognition."
With its current 18 electoral votes and "swing state" status, Ohio has long been key to the presidential election, as no one has won the presidency without winning the state since John F. Kennedy in 1960. Trump took the state comfortably during his election in 2016, beating Democratic nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 52%-44%.
However, nearly three years later, Quinnipiac's latest poll shows Ohio voters are beginning to sour on the president. His approval rating in the state stands at just 43% (in line with his FiveThirtyEight national average) despite a majority of voters saying they are "better off" financially than they were prior to his election. Trump's main calling card has long been the strong economy, but whether it will be enough to carry him back to the White House remains in question.
Head-to-head, Biden currently leads Trump in several demographics the president won in 2016, including independents (55%-32%), men (46%-45%), and voters 65 and older (50%-45%). Even 10% of Republicans say they will vote for Biden, compared to just 2% of Democrats for Trump.
The next Democratic debate (featuring 20 candidates) will take place over two nights on July 30-31 in Detroit. Biden will take the stage on the second night.