Well, we’ve lost a few since our July update. And we’ve even managed not to gain any! Hopefully rumors of Michael Bloomberg re-considering getting in are just that, because even with several drop-outs, we’ve still only just made it back to the teens. 19 candidates for the Democratic nomination, to be precise, down from a high of 25.
Not to worry, though! The good news is that there are, in fact, only five potential candidates for the nomination! That’s down from seven last time, and eight when we first looked at it in April. Progress!
How do we know this? As it happens, there are three measures that each, individually, have about a 60-65% reliability in indicating who the eventual nominee will be: Lead in national polls, fundraising, and insider endorsements. No one of them is full-proof, but taken together they give a pretty clear indication. So let’s look at each in turn.
The polling at this point is pretty unambiguous. There are three candidates that are leaps and bounds above everyone else:
With only a little over three months to go until the Iowa caucuses at this point, it is very likely that the eventual nominee will be, if not the lead person in the polls, at least one of these three.
Over on the fundraising side, there’s also a pretty clear leading group of three at this point, albeit not exactly the same one as in polling:
Most party insiders are still sitting on their endorsements, as they typically do until late in the game. But the ones that have announced so far also separate out three clear leaders:
So there you have it. At this late stage in the pre-primary, the chances that the nominee isn’t someone in the top three in at least one of these measures is pretty slim. It is overwhelmingly likely that the Democratic nominee will be one of Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, or Pete Buttigieg. Some of these are more likely than others, but there’s about a 0% chance it will be one of the 14 not on this list.
Tune in once more in January, for a final pre-Iowa check-in. At that time, we should be able to narrow things even further!