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How accurately do polls predict presidential nominations? Jeff Greenfield on why he's skeptical of early popularity

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Joe Biden
Former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden brings a chair over for a woman in the audience during a campaign event, Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Berlin, N.H.
Elise Amendola | AP

If you pay close attention to the latest presidential primary polls, you'd think that former Vice President, Joe Biden, were a shoe-in to represent Democrats, in the 2020 presidential elections. 

Biden, who entered the race in April, has polled more strongly than his competitors, but journalist Jeff Greenfield, who studied past presidential nominations, is wary of Biden's early momentum. 

In a recent POLITICO article titled, "Why You're Wrong About the Democratic Primary," Greenfield cites how top candidates have fizzled out in the late stages of the race and how unlikely nominees have turned into contenders.

"Every winning candidate's journey to the nomination is serpentine, and their stories are so varied that, depending on what contest you look at, there are enough different paths to provide encouragement to just about any candidate. 

Will voters choose familiarity, as they did in 1984 and as Biden may hope they will do again? Or will they go for a Reagan-like insurgent who represents a rising ideological wing of the party, like Sanders?"

MPR news host Kerri Miller spoke with award-winning journalist and political analyst, Jeff Greenfield, and Sonja Diaz, the founding director of the Latino Policy Initiative at UCLA Luskin, about the unpredictability of presidential nominations.