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New Poll Shows Biden, Sanders Tied For First In Volatile Primary

While Biden and Sanders lead the field, the survey provides additional insight into the volatility of the race with a reputation for its turbulence.


A new poll released Monday lands Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders within striking distance of Democratic presidential frontrunner and former Vice President Joe Biden ahead of the sixth Democratic debate slated to be held in Los Angeles Thursday.

The poll, conducted by NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll shows Biden in the lead with 24 percent support among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, followed by Sanders carrying 22 percent well within the survey’s +/- 5.4 percent margin of error.

Biden and Sanders are trailed by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren with 17 percent, and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg garnering 13 percent. Tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang scored 5 percent, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, tied with Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Cory Booker of New Jersey with 4 percent. The rest of the candidates failed to collect more than 1 percent support.

The survey was conducted Dec. 9-11 and included 704 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents in a sub-group to estimate the level of support among the candidates chasing the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

The results come just days before the race’s top seven candidates are set to go head-to-head Thursday in Los Angeles for the sixth Democratic primary debate this year hosted and moderated by PBS NewsHour and Politico. Biden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Yang, and billionaire Tom Steyer will each face-off on the Thursday night debate stage.

The poll also shows Sanders beginning to lead the field among non-white voters 29 percent to Biden’s 26 percent, who has held on to the support from this vital voting bloc in the Democratic primary throughout the campaign. Sanders’ lead among this core group is likely bolstered by the senator’s support from younger minority voters and Latinos.

While Biden and Sanders lead the field, the survey provides additional insight into the volatility of the race which has already earned a reputation for its turbulence. Two-thirds of Democratic voters and Democratic-leaning independents reported being satisfied with the current slate of candidates where 15 remain in the contest. Seventy-six percent said however, that they are open-minded and willing to throw their support behind someone else in the race, offering an explanation as to why so many candidates are still vying for the party’s top ticket despite their low standing in the polls.

According to Real Clear Politics’ latest aggregate of national polls, Biden still remains the race’s frontrunner by a wide margin, holding onto approximately 27 percent support compared to Sanders’ little more than 19. Warren falls not too far behind with 16 percent followed by Buttigieg back in single digits at 9 percent in the Real Clear Aggregate.

With less than two months to go until Iowa however, Buttigieg is positioned as the party favorite earning 22.5 percent in the Real Clear Aggregate of Iowa polls in the Democratic contest. Sanders is at 19 percent support in the first-in-the-nation caucus state and Biden comes in third place with 18. Warren garners just more than 16 percent while the rest of the field fails to break into double-digit support.

When it comes to New Hampshire, the first nominating contest after Iowa, Sanders leads the pack with 19 percent support in the Real Clear Aggregate of New Hampshire polls. Buttigieg follows close behind with almost 18 percent with Biden slipping behind at just more than 14. Warren has fallen from a first-place standing in the critical primary state in November to fourth place holding onto just more than 13 percent support. The rest of the field remains in the single-digits.