Unpopular Biden sticks close to home as midterm campaigns enter final two weeks
WASHINGTON — Joe Biden’s campaign hit Iowa on Saturday, hoping to solidify his status as a frontrunner for the Democratic nomination next year and, perhaps, an effective independent.
The campaign has been trying, with mixed success, to change the image that Biden has with voters. Biden has not run a campaign that had a traditional infrastructure. He has not hired staff. He has not bought ads or made phone calls to persuade voters or convince them that he is the better candidate. And he has not conducted a massive ad campaign in a state like Iowa, which has been his most consistent base.
“Iowa is important to us,” Biden campaign manager Greg Schultz said. “It’s a different situation than we had at the beginning of this cycle. We needed to get organized and get ready to win.”
Yet by early Saturday, hours before the polls opened, it looked like Biden’s campaign was more ready to go into battle in the state than any of its rivals for the presidential nomination. Biden was on the ground in Iowa, along with his wife, Jill, a top adviser and adviser for her husband’s campaign who has worked in the state for years. And Biden appeared in public at least once on Saturday, standing side-by-side with his wife and shaking hands with Iowans.
And those who worked the pollbooks have been reporting that Biden has a big lead there in recent days. On Saturday evening, an NBC News poll gave the former veep a 6-point lead over a hypothetical Democratic primary challenger, which would mean a Biden win in Iowa on Tuesday.
But that lead appears to be shrinking because of problems with the poll, which has not been fully released and is under attack by Biden’s rival, Bernie Sanders, for several days of polling errors. By 7 p.m., after several hours of polling in Iowa, Iowa-based pollster Frank Luntz called out the Iowa poll saying that it was “just a bad, unrepresentative poll” that would not be relied upon by anyone — Biden, the Republican front-runner, or the Democratic presidential candidates — to know anything about the race.
In recent days, Luntz said, his own polling showed a race that was