Senator Bernie Sanders claimed front-runner status in the Democratic primary for the first time this month, surpassing former Vice President Joe Biden, as the self-described democratic socialist makes significant inroads with moderate Democrats following strong performances in early nominating contests, according to the national Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP Poll for March.
Sanders leads the pack with 23 percent of Democratic or Democratic-leaning voters, up from 19 percent in February. This is the highest level of support Sanders has enjoyed in our poll since the election cycle began. The Vermont senator appears to be riding a wave of key victories in the New Hampshire and Nevada primaries, which have bolstered his viability as a presidential candidate in the minds of a growing number of Democrats. Also, Sanders’ support among moderate Democrats has nearly doubled since last month, from 13 percent to 24 percent.
Biden ran a close second in our poll, at 20 percent, a six-point decline from February. This marks the first time since October that the former vice president has not sat atop the Democratic field. While Biden continues to enjoy strong support from core constituencies such as older voters and minorities, he has yet to win over the younger, more progressive wing of the Democratic Party, the poll shows. Hence, Biden garners just 5 percent support from the 25 to 44 age cohort, compared with Sanders’ 34 percent, as referenced in an analysis of this month’s polling results by Investor’s Business Daily, which can be accessed here.
Senator Elizabeth Warren placed third, as her share of support grew from 13 percent to 17 percent. Warren is now the top choice among liberal voters, with 29 percent of this bloc backing the Massachusetts senator, compared with 17 percent in February. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg also gained ground among Democratic voters this month, improving five points to a share of 13 percent. Meanwhile, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Senator Amy Klobuchar, both of whom have ended their campaigns recently, remained in the single digits, at 7 percent and 6 percent, respectively.
Besides identifying Democratic voters’ top choice for the presidential nomination, we also gained insight into whom they consider to be their second choice. Close to one in five voters (18 percent) selected Sanders as their second pick, followed by Warren, at 17 percent, and Buttigieg, at 14 percent. Assessing voters’ second-choice candidates is especially important as the primary season progresses and more candidates drop out of the race. For instance, our poll suggests that Sanders would benefit greatly from a Warren withdrawal, as 50 percent of her supporters picked the democratic socialist as their second choice.
When it comes to general election matchups, each of the six top-tier Democratic candidates is locked in a close race with President Donald Trump. Sanders leads Trump by two points this month, 49 percent to 47 percent, after trailing the president by two points in February. Biden widened his lead over Trump
from a 49 percent to 48 percent margin last month to a 49 percent to 46 percent margin in March. Bloomberg also extended his edge over Trump to three points, from a 48 percent to 47 percent advantage to a 48 percent to 45 percent advantage. Meanwhile, Warren, who lagged Trump by four points in February, now beats the president by a margin of 48 percent to 46 percent. Senator Klobuchar, who was the only other female candidate among the top-tier before dropping out, tied with Trump at 46 percent. Finally, even while ending his campaign, Buttigieg held a three-point advantage over the president in our poll, 48 percent to 45 percent.
The IBD/TIPP Poll reflects responses from 901 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.
The Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP Poll, directed by TechnoMetrica, has been recognized as the most accurate poll in the U.S., having correctly called the outcome of each of the last four presidential elections, including President Trump’s victory in 2016.