NBC News Correspondent Says Biden Is 'beginning to Have That Feeling of a Loser' after Sinking African American Support

Joe Biden Campaigns In New Hampshire
Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event on February 10 in Manchester, New Hampshire. When Andrea Mitchell was asked if she thought Biden's campaign expected such a "dismal finish" in the Iowa caucuses, she said, "Not at all." Scott Eisen/Getty

NBC News Senior Washington Correspondent Andrea Mitchell said on Tuesday that former Vice President Joe Biden was beginning to have the feeling of being a loser due in part to decreasing support from African-American voters.

Mitchell's words came after an NBC host asked her if she thought Biden's campaign expected such a "dismal finish" in the Iowa caucuses and not-so stellar prospects for performing well in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary.

"Not at all," Mitchell said. "[The Biden campaign] could place fifth certainly fourth, and the fact is they're beginning to have that feeling of a loser. And when you saw that Quinnipiac poll, which showed that he has lost 22 points in African American support, he had talked about South Carolina as being his firewall, that is no longer the case. Mike Bloomberg has moved into position. And having lost so much of the African American support, Joe Biden is almost on fumes really. This is a real problem for their campaign."

Mitchell referred to the results of the latest Quinnipiac poll, which were released on Monday.

The poll asked Democratic respondents and those who lean-Democratic for whom they would vote if the Democratic presidential primary were held that day. In the most recent iteration of the poll, 27 percent of African Americans who responded to this question answered that Biden would be their first choice. While that percentage revealed that Biden is still the top choice for black voters, it reflects a steep drop in support.

In the previous national Quinnipiac poll, whose results were released on January 28, a full 49 percent of black respondents said he would be their first choice to represent the Democrats in the general election against President Donald Trump. Thus, as Mitchell said, there was a 22 percent drop in support for Biden among African Americans in a month.

As Mitchell said, support for billionaire businessman and former New York Mayor Bloomberg among African Americans has increased sharply, from just 7 percent in January's Quinnipiac poll to 22 percent in the one released Tuesday. That puts Bloomberg—who has received criticism in the past for his stop-and-frisk policy, which some say unfairly targeted blacks—second in African American support behind Biden.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was the third most-supported candidate among black respondents, with 19 percent saying that he would be their first choice for president.

Previous polls have indicated that African Americans, as a demographic, have been mostly stalwart supporters of Biden in his bid for the Democratic nomination. Because of this, some have predicted that Biden will win many votes in South Carolina, which, unlike New Hampshire and Iowa, has a significant black population.

Biden alluded to this history of support in the last presidential debate, in New Hampshire.

"I have more support in South Carolina in the Black Caucus and the black community than anybody else," he said to fellow candidate Tom Steyer, after Steyer pressed him on his association with a senator who made racist comments. "Double what you have, or anybody else has."

Earlier this month, Biden admitted that he did not perform particularly well in the Iowa caucuses, in which Sanders and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg won the most delegates. He also said that he expects Sanders to perform better than him in New Hampshire.

"I took a hit in Iowa, and I'll probably take a hit [in New Hampshire]," he said during the Democratic presidential debate on February 7. "Traditionally, Bernie won by about 20 points last time, and usually it's the neighboring senators that do well."

If Biden hopes to perform well in South Carolina, as Mitchell postulated, he may have to worry about the decrease in support from African Americans that the Quinnipiac poll indicated.

Grabien shared a clip of Mitchel speaking on its website.