A Monmouth University poll released Monday shows former Vice President Joe Biden’s frontrunner status in the race for the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination diminishing while Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) compete for the race’s top spot in the crowded primary.
The poll shows Biden dropping to third place in the race, with 19 percent support from voters, down a whopping 13 percent from the university’s previous polling, conducted in June. Warren and Sanders tied for first and second place in the poll with 20 percent support each, opening the race up to a three-way matchup between the candidates with a 5.7 percent margin of error.
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) registered with 8 percent support in the poll, followed by Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg each with 4 percent, tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang at 3 percent, and former secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX.) and self-help author Marianne Williamson all at 2 percent. The rest of the candidates still running in the race all polled at 1 percent or less, if registering at all.
If the polling is accurate and similar results show in other polls, it suggests Democratic voters are trending towards backing the farther-left candidates in the race with little appetite for moderation, even as a close examination of Biden’s track record reveals no moderate in the former vice president and senator from Delaware.
“The main takeaway from this poll is that the Democratic race has become volatile,” said pollster Patrick Murray in a statement unveiling the results.
Liberal voters are starting to cast about for a candidate they can identify with. Moderate voters, who have been paying less attention, seem to be expressing doubts about Biden. But they are swinging more toward one of the left-leaning contenders with high name recognition rather than toward a lesser known candidate who might be more in line with them politically.
The poll shows Biden losing support among Democrats who identify as moderate and conservative, with the shift primarily moving to lift Sanders and Warren. Biden also lost support among liberals, although liberal voters flocked to other candidates in the race more evenly. Monmouth also reports that Biden lost his edge in critical early voting states in the primary.
Biden, while holding a comfortable lead throughout the Democratic primary up to this point, has run a struggling campaign with a rocky rollout and a poor first debate performance. In recent weeks, Biden has also made quite a few of his trademark gaffes, doing little to ease concerns about the 76-year-old candidate’s age and sharpness to take on President Donald Trump next fall. Read a comprehensive list of Biden’s wildest misstatements here.
Research from the Pew Research Center published earlier this month also suggests the Democratic primary remains wide open, with a majority of Biden’s supporters reporting significant interest in multiple candidates vying for the party’s presidential nomination.
The Monmouth University poll was conducted from Aug. 16 to 20 and included a national random sample of 800 adults over the age of 18.