(Bloomberg) — Former Vice President Joe Biden still holds a comfortable lead in the Democratic primary, an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Thursday shows, but Senator Elizabeth Warren is steadily gaining ground.
Biden leads with 26%, and he is followed by Warren with 19%. Senator Kamala Harris and Senator Bernie Sanders are tied with 13%. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg pulled in 7%.
The latest poll shows Warren and Harris continuing to surge after the first Democratic debates last month in Miami. Meanwhile, Sanders continues to lose ground to Warren, his progressive rival.
Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke and entrepreneur Andrew Yang are at 2%. None of the other candidates topped 1%.
Despite Biden’s steady lead, only 12% of voters said they were locked into their top choice more than six months before the Iowa caucuses.
The poll shows Biden remains the top choice for African American voters, as well as older Democrats and those who describe themselves as moderate or conservative. By contrast, Warren performed the best with self-identified liberals and voters between the ages of 18 and 49.
As for voters’ second choice candidate, Harris came in first with 14%, followed by Warren with 13%, Sanders with 12% and Biden with 10%.
The poll of 800 registered voters was conducted between July 7-9. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Gillibrand Vows ‘Deadbeat’ Tax to Save Jobs (3:45 p.m.)
Democratic presidential hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand vowed to hold companies that outsource jobs accountable, saying President Donald Trump has failed to deliver on his campaign promise to keep jobs in the U.S.
The New York senator’s plan includes a “deadbeat company tax” that aims to punish large corporations that move operations overseas. If 25 or more jobs are moved the company would receive financial penalties and clawbacks of local, state and federal funds, she said.
Gillibrand said she’d start an economic disaster aid fund to help local communities deal with layoffs. The fund would make federal resources available for infrastructure, grants for job creation, job training and mortgage payment loans.
“As president, I promise to fight for workers the same way President Trump fights for executives. And no corporation will stand in my way,” she said. — Catherine Dodge
Kamala Harris Says She’ll Fix Rape-Kit Backlog (2 p.m.)
Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris unveiled a $1 billion plan to help states eliminate backlogs on rape kits, which are used by health professionals to gather evidence in sexual assault cases.
In a news release, Harris’s campaign pointed out that it was making the announcement as “the case of Jeffrey Epstein, who was indicted this week for sex trafficking and faces accusations of raping teenage girls, draws further scrutiny.”
The California senator’s campaign said the policy is intended to help states eliminate their backlog within four years. About 225,000 known untested rape kits had been uncovered in the last decade, it said.
States will have to implement four steps to receive funding: provide yearly reports on the number of untested rape kits, require that all new rape kits be submitted and tested in a short time, track rape kits and make their status available to victims, and make the kits widely available. — Sahil Kapur
Buttigieg Outlines Plan to Boost Racial Justice (11:20 a.m.)
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg detailed a multibillion-dollar initiative to address racial inequality in heath care, education, entrepreneurship, the criminal justice system, housing, the environment and voting rights.
Buttigieg’s campaign has been roiled by his handling of racial issues in South Bend, Indiana, where he is mayor. In June, he suspended his campaign and returned home to address protests by black residents after a white police officer shot and killed a black man. Buttigieg has struggled to attract minority voters and the most recent polls show him essentially polling at zero among black Democrats.
The “Douglass Plan” he presented Thursday aims to show “how the federal government can intentionally dismantle racist structures and systems” through “unprecedented” economic investment in African American communities.
The proposal, named after the 19th century black abolitionist Frederick Douglass, includes creating health equity investment zones and a data base identifying health threats, increasing funding for Title 1 and investing $25 billion into historically black colleges and universities, ensuring increased access to capital for black entrepreneurs and reducing the incarceration rate by 50%.
He also calls for abolishing private federal prisons, eliminating the imprisonment of people for drug offenses and expunging the record of drug offenders. — Emma Kinery
Biden to Outline His Post-Trump Foreign Policy (06:00 a.m.)
Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden on Thursday will outline his plan to remake U.S. foreign policy after four years of Donald Trump’s leadership.
The address in New York will be the former vice president’s first major effort to highlight an area where he has far more experience than any of his rivals for the presidency, according to a campaign official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Biden will focus on the need to repair and reinvigorate U.S. democracy, equip Americans to better succeed in the global economy and put the country back at the head of the table in mobilizing collective action on global threats.
He also will promise to convene a gathering of the world’s democracies during his first year in office as a step toward rebuilding alliances frayed by the Trump administration, the official said.
The speech comes after several rocky weeks for Biden, whose advantage in polls has narrowed amid scrutiny of his record on racial issues and a rocky performance at the first Democratic debate last month in Miami.
Biden was involved in foreign policy for much of his political career. He was the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for more than a decade and, as vice president, had a key role in advising President Barack Obama on foreign policy matters.
But focusing on his international expertise might not bring much political gain: In June, just 3% of Americans surveyed by Gallup said foreign policy and national security-related issues were the country’s most important problem.
Biden has already come under fire from some of his rivals as the only candidate in the race who voted in 2002 to authorize the use of force in Iraq. The other 2020 contender who was in the Congress at the time, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, voted against military action.
And rivals are likely to point out that Obama didn’t always follow Biden’s foreign policy advice. In 2009, the president sided with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over Biden in approving a troop surge in Afghanistan. Biden urged Obama not to go forward with the May 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden. But Obama approved the mission, which Biden has since touted as an accomplishment of their administration.
The official wouldn’t point to any major breaks from Obama’s policies, saying Biden would respond to new challenges and restore some of the policies and practices that Trump eliminated. He would also put renewed emphasis on fighting climate change, including by re-entering the Paris climate agreement and pushing countries to make commitments that go beyond that pact.
The former vice president would use the democracy summit to ask social-media and other technology companies to agree to take steps to guard against abuses of technology around the world.
In addition, Biden will call for rebuilding U.S. alliances and retaking the U.S. role as a leader of multilateral coalitions to stand up to authoritarian regimes, the official said.
Biden won’t get into many regional specifics, though he will say that if Iran returns to compliance with the 2015 nuclear accord, the U.S. would also rejoin the agreement under his watch while pushing to strengthen and lengthen it, the official said. — Jennifer Epstein
Sanders Goes on Hiring Spree in New Hampshire (5 a.m.)
Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign has been on a hiring spree in New Hampshire in the past two months, as the Vermont senator tries to fend of challenges from Elizabeth Warren and other rivals who also are investing heavily in the first-in-the-nation primary state.
The campaign now has 45 staffers there, a nearly 45% jump since May, according to Carli Stevenson, deputy director of Sanders’s New Hampshire operation. Joe Caiazzo, the campaign’s state director, said the new hires primarily will be used to connect with the thousands of Granite State voters who volunteered for Sanders’s 2016 primary race against Hillary Clinton.
Sanders won by 22 points in that primary, and he’s counting on a repeat early next year to help propel him through the rest of the Democratic contests. Recent polls in the Granite State have him in second place there behind national front-runner Joe Biden. Warren, from neighboring Massachusetts, has visited the state more than twice as often as Sanders.
The Sanders campaign also plans to add four satellite offices in the New Hampshire, bringing its total number of offices there to six. In addition to headquarters in Manchester, the campaign opened another office in Hudson. Locations for the new offices include Dover, West Lebanon, Portsmouth and a second satellite office in Manchester, Stevenson said. — Laura Litvan
Here’s What Happened Wednesday:
Sanders published a list of “anti-endorsements” on his presidential campaign website with quotes from JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO Lloyd Blankfein, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and other luminaries of Wall Street and beyond. “Bernie Sanders, in my opinion, doesn’t have a clue,” Leon Cooperman, a former partner at Goldman Sachs, is quoted as saying. “It has the potential to be a dangerous moment,” Blankfein said of Sanders’s campaign. “In 2016 I saw Bernie Sanders and the kids around him. I thought: ‘This is the antichrist!”’ said Home Depot Inc. Co-Founder Kenneth Langone. In a statement Sanders said of the business leaders quoted: “we welcome their hatred.”Two days after announcing his presidential candidacy, billionaire Tom Steyer has already spent $1.4 million on television commercials in the key first nominating states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. Few candidates have done a single TV ad yet, and none has spent as much money as Steyer. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York launched ads Tuesday targeting Trump in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan, where she will be traveling this week. Representatives Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and Seth Moulton of Massachusetts ran TV ads in June. Former Maryland Representative John Delaney, the first to join the race, bought a TV ad during the 2018 Super Bowl.
–With assistance from Laura Litvan, Jennifer Epstein, Sahil Kapur, Emma Kinery and Catherine Dodge.
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