Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has soared and former Vice President Joe Biden has crashed in national preference for the Democratic nomination for president, while the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary helped to clear some running room for a candidate who’s not yet been on the ballot: former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
Sanders advanced to 32% support among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, up 8 percentage points from late January. Biden fell to 17%, down 11 points to his lowest of the campaign. And Bloomberg, who takes the stage for the first time in Wednesday night’s debate in Nevada, now has 14% support, up 6 points.
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By contrast, there’s been little if any movement for former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a strong finisher in both early contests; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, third in New Hampshire; or Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who fell short in both. Warren has 11% support nationally, unchanged; Buttigieg, 7%; and Klobuchar, 6%.
Sanders’ newfound 15-point lead over Biden nearly doubles Biden’s biggest lead of the campaign, 8 points over Sanders in early September. That said, the most dramatic shifts aren’t in vote preferences but in views of who has the best chance to defeat President Donald Trump in November. Electability’s been a cornerstone of Biden’s campaign, yet just 19% now say he’s likeliest to win, sliced in half from 38% in January.
Instead, 30% of leaned Democrats now see Sanders as most electable, up 12 points, and 18% say this about Bloomberg, up 10 points. The rest of the field is in single digits on the question. Read more