Biden, Schumer rank at bottom of survey for Democratic leadership during coronavirus

Party's likely presidential nominee places behind Democrat governors Cuomo and Newsom, primary opponent Sanders.

Updated: April 8, 2020 - 1:40pm

In a warning sign for Joe Biden, the former vice president finished near the bottom of a survey of American voters looking at which Democratic leaders have shown leadership during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Just the News Daily Poll with Scott Rasmussen.

Just 6% of Americans surveyed ranked Biden, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, as the top Democratic official for coronavirus leadership, compared to 30% for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, 12% for California Gov. Gavin Newsom, 9% for Biden’s main primary rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and 7% for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“Governor Cuomo has been front and center on the coronavirus story since New York is the epicenter of the U.S. caseload,” Rasmussen said. “He has worked with — and periodically praised — President Trump. Despite the highly partisan nature of 21st century politics, Cuomo is seen by 30% of voters as the best Democratic leader during the crisis. That includes 35% of Democrats. In fact, Cuomo leads the field among just about every measured demographic group (though Sanders edges him by 2 points among voters under 35).”

Some observers say that Biden is lagging behind Cuomo, who called for a post-partisan response to coronavirus, in part because the former VP was late to shed his strident voice in opposition to President Trump's leadership in combatting COVID-19 in favor of a more cooperative tone. 

“Biden does best among African-American voters, trailing Cuomo by just four points (20% to 16%) and leading all other contenders,” Rasmussen said. “In most demographic categories, he trails his top competition for the nomination, Senator Sanders. Normally, a political party's nominee becomes the chief spokesperson for the party, the voice of the party. So far, in the eyes of voters, Biden has failed to fill that role.”

Cuomo’s favorability rating sharply rose to 71% among New Yorkers during the pandemic — an increase of 27% from the prior month. President Trump has even quipped that Cuomo would be a more formidable presidential campaign opponent than Biden.

“The poll highlights one of the reasons some Democrats are pining for Cuomo to become the Democratic nominee,” Rasmussen said. “However, it is hard to see that happening in 2020.”

Respondents were asked: “Which of the following Democratic officials has provided the best leadership in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic?” Responses were ranked as below:

  • 30% Governor Andrew Cuomo
  • 12% Governor Gavin Newsom
  • 9% Senator Bernie Sanders
  • 7% House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
  • 6% Former Vice President Joe Biden
  • 2% Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer
  • 34% Not Sure

The national survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted April 2-5, 2020 by Rasmussen, a polling veteran. Margin of sampling error: +/- 2.8% for full sample. 

To see the full demographic cross-tabulations for this polling question, click below: