While Democrats may have “settled”, it seems that Biden has ended up being a good candidate for the moment. He’s stayed out of Trump’s way and in doing so has built a large lead with under a month to go before the election.
Being ahead doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a good candidate. The fundamentals (whether they be the economy or global health pandemic) often drive election results as much as individual candidates.
Biden, though, seems to be winning in part because he’s actually a fairly popular politician in an era in which those don’t really exist on the national stage.
You might think it’s easy to get a positive net favorability when you’re standing next to Trump, who has been quite unpopular throughout his term in office. His net favorability among likely voters in our last poll was -18 points.
Biden seems to be doing what Clinton couldn’t for at least two clear and perhaps connected reasons.
Certainly part of Trump’s media domination is the ongoing drama at the White House, but Biden getting mentioned a lot less in the news than Clinton has been true throughout comparable points in the campaign.
Biden’s been able to keep the left on his side not because he’s running as a movement candidate, but rather that he’s running to keep Trump from winning a second term.
So far, based on the looks of the polls, Biden is likely to do exactly what he set out to do.