Basically, the day before Super Tuesday, we’re down Biden, Sanders, Bloomber and Warren.
But the knockout of Pete Buttigieg means perhaps the most. And this just in…
Breaking: Pete Buttigieg plans to endorse Joe Biden— Political Polls (@PpollingNumbers) March 2, 2020
People complain about the incompetence of the Democratic party, but at least they managed to thin the field when it still mattered.— emptywheel (@emptywheel) March 2, 2020
What does this mean?
Well, before Kobuchar got out, 538 speculated that Buttigieg leaving was bad news for Sanders, as it made it HARDER for him to get a majority, and maybe even a plurality.
Now, Nate Silver of 538 says this:
I'm not sure if our model will say that, but **it's getting pretty close to saying that** and the factors it isn't considering (i.e. that Biden could pick up a disproportionate share of Klobuchar and Buttigieg voters) would likely push it in that direction.— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) March 2, 2020
Jonathan Bernstein, Bloomberg Opinion: “As for Michael Bloomberg … it’s been true from the start and continues to be true that the most likely effect of his campaign is to split the mainstream liberal vote and make Sanders the nominee.”
Nate Cohn, The Times’s polling expert, sees Buttigieg’s exit as good news for Biden: “Many stronger Buttigieg states [like Maine, Colorado and Utah, all of which vote Tuesday] were also states where Biden was in jeopardy of not hitting 15% [and thus winning no delegates]. Even if his support breaks evenly, good for Biden — and it might not be even. Elsewhere, Buttigieg support is concentrated in affluent areas, where it’ll break Biden.”
Megan McArdle: “I might be too pessimistic about Biden’s chances. It all feels just too close to the emotional roller coaster we #NeverTrumpers rode back in 2016, when we spun elaborate fantasies about the field narrowing and a champion emerging to take down the Orange Menace.”
Jonathan Chait: “Biden was not my first, or second, or third choice. He is endlessly exasperating. But he has a quality many of the media elites have failed to see. His meandering delivery — marred with a stutter that seems to have returned in his old age after he mastered it as a young man — nonetheless manages to convey a sincerity and a decency.”
Perry Bacon Jr., FiveThirtyEight: Buttigieg “might genuinely think that Sanders would be a terrible nominee for the Democratic Party. But there is a potential upside for Buttigieg in making this decision too. At his age, Buttigieg has four decades to try to become president. In leaving the race now, he builds goodwill with Democratic Party officials broadly and Biden in particular.”