Campaign

Maher says he's concerned Biden is not 'comfortably ahead'

HBO's "Real Time" host Bill Maher on Friday expressed concern that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wasn't "comfortably ahead" of President Trump with less than 90 days until the Nov. 3 election. 

Maher was speaking on a panel with two former Democratic primary candidates - former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and entrepreneur Andrew Yang - who will both speak at next week's Democratic convention, where Biden will officially accept the party's nomination.

"Biden's ahead, but he's not, to my view, comfortably ahead, not for my comfort," Maher said. "I mean, Hillary [Clinton] was ahead by more at some point. And I just got to ask, what is your party doing against this walking disaster [Trump] that you can't close the gap better than that?"

Clinton ultimately won the popular vote in 2016 by just under 3 million votes, but Trump secured the presidency by winning the Electoral College.

Trump is currently trailing Biden in several national surveys. An NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist poll released on Friday showed Biden has expanded his national lead to double digits, maintaining 53 percent support to Trump's 42 percent. A Pew poll had Biden leading Trump by 8 points.

And in the states that will help decide who wins in November, Biden has polled ahead of Trump. A survey released Wednesday found that Biden is leading Trump in five out of six battleground states that could swing blue and help him secure the White House. 

Biden leads Trump by 6 points in Florida, 50 to 44 percent, and by 5 points in Michigan, 48 to 43 percent. Biden is also up by 4 points in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, 48 to 44 percent and 47 to 43 percent, respectively. 

However, the former vice president leads by just a single point in Arizona.

Maher cited the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 168,400 people in the U.S., and the subsequent economic crisis that left millions without employer-based health care coverage.

"Republicans never had a plan for health care. Still don't," Maher said. "What do you think it is that keeps Republicans so close to a party like that?"

Buttigieg responded to Maher's concerns, saying that a presidential race is "never just about policy."

"The policies of this administration were a disaster. The leadership of this administration is a disaster. We know that," Buttigieg said. "But still, I think there are a lot of folks who heard a message - fraudulent though it was - a message that here's somebody who sees you and cares about you. Now's our chance to change that. And I think Joe Biden is really focused on making sure that we reach out."

Outbrain