Allies of former Vice President Joe Biden have lowered their expectations for the Iowas caucuses Monday night, with some campaign aides expressing apprehension about how things will go, according to The Hill.
"Most [aides] feel it’s not going to be great," said one longtime Biden ally.
Biden’s aides and allies said they were hoping to place in the top three. But even if they fall short, the campaign is “built for the long haul,” one Biden confidant said.
Biden said in an interview with NBC that “my gut tells me things are going well.” Still, he added, that the results would be “close.”
The latest poll in the state by Emerson College and Channel 7 News Iowa showed Biden trailing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) by 7 points, 28 percent to 21 percent. Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., came in third with 15 percent. -The Hill
On Monday, Biden was asked during a surprise stop at a Des Moines field office if his campaign can survive if he doesn't win in Iowa, to which he replied - while apparently being led around by the arm - that it will "survive all the way through the whole thing."
After making a surprise stop at one of his Des Moines field offices today, @JoeBiden told reporters his campaign is “going to survive all the way through the whole thing” even if he doesn’t win the Iowa caucuses tonight. pic.twitter.com/MaJUeqcRi0— Marianna Sotomayor (@MariannaNBCNews) February 3, 2020
Earlier Monday, Biden told NBC News' Savanah Guthrie "I'm the only one with broad support," however a poll by CBS News and YouGov revealed that Biden and Sanders are tied at 25%.
And, according to The Hill, if other Democratic candidates exceeds expectations in Iowa, it could set Biden up for a serious uphill battle.
"If Amy or Pete does better than expected and is getting a ton of buzz going into New Hampshire, that’s really bad for Biden," said one Democrat, who has raised money for Biden. "The longer there are more moderate candidates fighting over table scraps while Bernie gains strength, the more narrow the path gets for him going forward."
Biden does appear to have the luxury of underperforming in Iowa, as his allies can credibly argue that Biden’s core constituency of black voters will be there to turn out for him in South Carolina and in the more diverse Super Tuesday states, such as Texas, North Carolina and Virginia.
“The Iowa caucuses are totally up in the air, especially this year with so many candidates running and the weird way that voters will realign and the different ways the results will be reported,” said one Democrat who has raised money for Biden. “If Biden wins Iowa, that’s great. If not, he’s got big plans for other states and has made that clear for a while. The campaign still thinks they have a great shot at winning this thing no matter what happens in Iowa.” -The Hill
Still, Biden acolytes have kept the faith.
"No matter what happens in Iowa, he’ll be competitive moving forward," said Kelly Dietrich, a veteran Democratic fundraiser and the CEO of the National Democratic Training Committee.
"No matter what happens in Iowa, he’ll be competitive moving forward," she said, adding "He’s the most well-known and only candidate in this race that nearly every Democrat has voted for twice as vice president. There’s a lot of undecided people still and so many ways this could play out, but Biden will be in it regardless."