• Democratic presidential candidates have been all-but-invisible since the pandemic forced them off the campaign trail
  • Wisconsin is one of the few states that hasn't postponed its primary, scheduled for Tuesday
  • A poll indicated Biden leads Sanders by 28 points in Wisconsin

As the coronavirus pandemic has pushed the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination out of the headlines, nearly 70% of voters say postponing state primaries is a good idea, a Pew Research Center survey indicates.

Numerous states have pushed their primaries to June and the Democratic National Committee rescheduled the July nominating convention to August. Stay-at-home orders in 38 states have forced candidates to cancel rallies and fundraisers, sending former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to their basements to broadcast messages to supporters.

The pandemic is particularly hard on Biden, who had just regained his footing on the campaign trail, garnering 1,217 of the 1,991 delegates needed to secure the nomination on the first ballot. Sanders, the only remaining challenger in a field that numbered two dozen, has 914 delegates and had little likelihood of overtaking Biden when the pandemic hit.

So far, 15 states have postponed their primaries, most into June. Wisconsin, however, still is planning to hold its primary on Tuesday.

The Pew survey was conducted March 19-24, just after Ohio announced it would delay its balloting. It found 64% of Republicans and 71% of Democrats voiced support for delays. Two-thirds of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (68%) said they would feel uncomfortable going into a polling place while 58% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents agreed.

Women expressed more discomfort with going to the polls than men, 70% vs. 56%, while younger voters saying they were leerier of voting than older voters. Hispanic voters were more likely to express discomfort than blacks or whites.

A recent Marquette University poll indicated Biden would defeat Sanders in the Wisconsin primary by 28 points but showed President Trump in competitive races with either candidate, losing to Biden by 3 points but beating Sanders by 2 points.

By late afternoon Friday, the U.S. was reporting more than 266,600 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection with 6,700 deaths.