December 1, 2019 📊 Buttigieg has taken supporters from Warren, not Biden

Yet another reminder that ideological “lanes” are the wrong way to evaluate primaries

Welcome! I’m G. Elliott Morris, data journalist for The Economist and blogger of polls, elections, and political science. Happy Sunday! This is my weekly email where I write about politics using data and share links to what I’ve been reading and writing. Thoughts? Drop me a line (or just respond to this email). Like what you’re reading? Tap the ❤️ below the title and share with your friends!


Dear Reader,

This week’s main read: This week’s main read is a short blurb on the Buttigieg bounce. Where did it come from? (Where might it go?) I have sent it off to you via my phone as an enormous Airbus A380 taxies to the runway before shooting me 30,000 feet into the sky. As such, please do accept my apologies for the brief letter this week.

Plus, I’ve got links to my work on Michael Bloomberg’s recent entry into the Democratic primary, and other work I enjoyed over a short thanksgiving vacation.

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Buttigieg has taken supporters from Warren, not Biden

Yet another reminder that ideological “lanes” are the wrong way to evaluate primaries 

While Washington analysts and TV pundits spouted off about the threat a Pete Buttigieg rise might pose to Joe Biden, a more predictable thing occurred: Elizabeth Warren’s collapse in the polls. Some have explained her declining poll numbers with a poor roll-out of her Medicare for All plan, while others pointed to a poor debate performance in October as the catalyst for her decline.

It seems reasonable to me that either one of those things could be the driving factor, but yet another lurks somewhere in pundit-world: that educated and liberal whites found a new favorite child—Pete Buttigieg—in their search for an alternative to Joe Biden.

It is chiefly interesting that Buttigieg has risen in national polls while Warren has sunk. Take a look at The Economist’s polling average for more on this. But we see the same pattern in Iowa and New Hampshire, per aggregation from RealClearPolitics. This is important because both NH and IA have a relatively high proportion of white liberal Democrats compared to the nation as a whole.

This suggests to me that much of the conventional wisdom about Buttigieg—that his opposition to Medicare for All made him a good “moderate” alternative to Biden—is wrong. This is yet another reminder that primaries are not as cookie-cutter as we often believe.

And here are some selected links to the work I read and wrote last week:

Posts for subscribers:

Links and Other Stuff

  • I wrote this piece on Michael Bloomberg for The Economist’s print edition last week. In short, I think he is doomed.

What I'm Reading and Working On

Stay tunes for some work on the United Kingdom’s general election over the next two weeks

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