Joe Biden’s Virginia Advantage

A recent presidential poll confirmed a hard truth for Virginia Democrats: Former vice president Joe Biden may be the only guy who can keep the commonwealth out of President Trump’s column in November.

That’s the takeaway from a recently released Mason-Dixon poll that shows the former vice president ahead of the president. The rest of the Democratic field achieves the seemingly impossible: Losing to an impeached Republican incumbent a year after Virginia Democrats won their first trifecta in a generation.

Naturally, this has upset the other contenders. Biden? You mean the 1988 Neil Kinnock knockoff? The 2008 wannabe who didn’t get past the Iowa caucuses. The 2020 front-runner who is carrying his son’s Ukrainian baggage?

We have to ignore all that history, plus things such as the poll’s margin of error (four percentage points), the pool of poll respondents (registered voters, not likely voters) and that the Iowa caucuses, Biden’s bête noir, are weeks away.

Fair enough. The data, however, confirm earlier polls showing Biden leading in Virginia.

Okay, fine. Let’s go with it. What do the numbers say?

Biden leads Trump 49-45 percent in Virginia. Not bad — not that much different from Hillary Clinton’s 49-44 percent victory over Trump in 2016 or Barack Obama’s Virginia victories in 2008 and 2012.

The good news for Democrats ends there.

Trump leads Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) by 6 percentage points, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) by 4 percentage points, and former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg by a scant 2 percentage points.

All of this can change. But don’t count on it changing much, because Biden has a few, very significant things working in his favor (in addition to endorsements from former governor Terry McAuliffe and Rep. Don McEachin).

The Mason-Dixon poll shows Biden leading Trump in two key constituencies: women and black voters. That isn’t surprising. Neither group is keen on Trump, and nothing will change that between now and Election Day, regardless of whom Democrats nominate.

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