Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has taken a narrow lead over Joe Biden in a nationwide poll of the Democratic primary battle, the March IBD/TIPP Poll finds. Elizabeth Warren is running a strong third, ahead of Michael Bloomberg. All four candidates held slight edges over President Donald Trump in head-to-head 2020 election matchups.
Ahead of Super Tuesday, Bernie Sanders is the clear front-runner. Separate polls show he's poised to do well in key Super Tuesday states like California and Texas. Joe Biden looks like the only candidate who can stop him after a decisive win in Saturday's South Carolina primary.
Bernie Sanders Rises As Joe Biden Hangs On
Sanders leads with 23% support in the March IBD/TIPP Poll, followed by Biden at 20% and Warren at 17%. Bloomberg is fourth with 13%. Pete Buttigieg, who dropped out Sunday after finishing fourth in South Carolina, is at 7%. Amy Klobuchar, who dropped out Monday, has 6% support.
Buttigieg and Klobuchar plan to endorse Biden for president.
Sanders saw his support reach a high point since IBD/TIPP began polling of the 2020 election, rising from 20% in the February poll. Biden, who stumbled in Iowa and New Hampshire, saw his support fall from 26% to a new low.
Warren's support grew from 13% in the prior poll. Bloomberg, who entered the race too late for first four contests, saw his support rise from 8% a month ago. Still, Bloomberg, who ran into a buzz saw in his first debate on Feb. 19, doesn't look poised to make a big splash on Super Tuesday.
Will Warren, Bloomberg, Klobuchar Exit?
The narrowing of the Democratic contest will shape the race on Super Tuesday and beyond, as voters shift their preferences. Voters also may not wait for their first-choice candidates to exit before switching to someone with a viable chance.
Sanders is the second choice among 18%, the IBD/TIPP Poll finds. He's followed by Warren (17%), Buttigieg (14%), Biden (11%), Klobuchar (10%) and Bloomberg (9%).
Yet Sanders leads only because 50% of Warren voters list him as their No. 2. Her decision whether to remain in the race after Super Tuesday could loom large. The Massachusetts primary is among the March 3 contests. A loss to Sanders there would be a blow to Warren.
Minnesota also votes on Super Tuesday. A loss there would certainly push Klobuchar from the race, but she might exit even after a win. Bloomberg will have to rethink his plans if he fails to shine on Super Tuesday.
Biden could be in a position to gain from the exit of Buttigieg, Bloomberg and Klobuchar, other relatively moderate candidates in the race. The IBD/TIPP Poll finds that half of Bloomberg and Klobuchar list either Biden or Buttigieg as their No. 2 pick, roughly split down the middle.
Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden Lead Vs. President Trump
Joe Biden leads Trump 49% to 46%, right near the 3.3% margin of error. Sanders leads Trump 49% to 47%. Warren leads Trump 48% to 46%. Bloomberg leads Trump 48% to 45%.
Of course, a narrow popular vote edge would not necessarily translate into an Electoral College victory for Democrats.
Trump leads all Democrats among self-described investors, with a 4-point lead over Biden. He leads Sanders by 7 points.
The IBD/TIPP Poll hints at the challenge Democrats may face in uniting around one candidate. The generational divide may be the biggest. Sanders leads with 34% among voters 25-44, but has just 7% support among voters 65 and older. Biden gets 5% in the 25-44 group, but 33% among the oldest voters.
The IBD/TIPP Poll reflects responses from 908 adults contacted via mobile phones and landlines from Feb. 20-29 and carries a 3.3-point margin of error. Polling for the Democratic presidential nomination includes a subset of 325 Democrats and independents who lean Democrat.
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