Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is out to a double-digit lead in a new national Democratic presidential primary poll released Wednesday morning as he has seen his electoral stock rise, while former Vice President Joe Biden’s poll numbers are tumbling and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is surging.
Sanders garnered 32 percent support in the ABC News/Washington Post poll, followed by Biden at 17 percent and Bloomberg at 14 percent. Sanders has been boosted by a win in the Vermont primary and at least a top-two finish in the yet-to-be-called Iowa caucuses, while Biden is still counting on his South Carolina firewall to hold after middling finishes in both states.
The trio is trailed by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren at 11 percent, the only other candidate reaching double-digits in the poll.
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The ABC News/Washington Post poll follows another national poll released Tuesday by NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist which had Bloomberg in second place behind Sanders and Biden in third. That poll put Bloomberg over the top of the Democratic National Committee’s threshold to participate in Wednesday’s debate in Las Vegas ahead of the Nevada caucuses.
Bloomberg, whose 14 percent total in Wednesday’s poll is up from 8 percent in January, has seemed to poach moderate Democrats from Biden’s camp with his huge advertising budget, spending upwards of $400 million so far. He is not competing in any of the first four primary states — campaigning instead in delegate-rich Super Tuesday states while the other candidates toiled away in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, allowing him to rise in the polls all while not securing a single delegate so far.
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His campaign has sought to frame the competition as a two-man race between him and Sanders, whose populist, progressive message is seemingly uniting more liberal voters around his campaign while Warren struggles to gain media attention following unremarkable finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire. The ABC News/Washington Post poll had her in second place with 21 percent support in October.
Sanders has drawn large and enthusiastic crowds to his rallies and holds a sizable lead in the RealClearPolitics average of polls for Nevada, and is trending upward in South Carolina, where Biden still leads. The democratic socialist from Vermont now appears to be the frontrunner in the race, and is making the case that only he has the kind of widespread support that can best Bloomberg and his exceedingly deep pockets.
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“The only way to beat Bloomberg’s bucks is with the kind of grass roots enthusiasm #OnlyBernie has.” Sanders’ press secretary Briahna Joy Gray tweeted Tuesday. “The reason other campaigns want to vilify Bernie supporters? They’re mad they don’t have the same diverse, volunteer-driven, union-strong army at their backs.”