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US Presidential elections 2020: Bernie Sanders tops poll; Mike Bloomberg surges

Bloomberg New Hampshire | Updated on February 11, 2020 Published on February 11, 2020

A file photo of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders   -  REUTERS

Joe Biden sees a steep fall in support among black voters

The Democratic presidential race took on a new shape a day before the New Hampshire primary, as a national poll showed Bernie Sanders overtaking Joe Biden in first place and Michael Bloomberg surging to third place on a wave of advertising.

In the first national survey since the Iowa caucuses ended with Sanders and Pete Buttigieg vying for the top spot, the Vermont senator had 25 per cent support, topping the Quinnipiac University poll for the first time. He was followed by Biden at 17 per cent and the former New York City mayor at 15 per cent, according to the poll released on Monday. Sanders is also leading in New Hampshire polls ahead of the states primary on Tuesday.

 

Bloomberg’s surge comes after his campaign spent more than $300 million on advertising around the country, including in expensive media markets in states like California and Texas that vote in the March 3 ‘Super Tuesday’ nominating contests.

His strong showing gives him two of the four qualifying polls he would need to participate in the Las Vegas Democratic debate on February 19. Candidates need to show 10 per cent in four qualifying national polls or 12 per cent in two polls taken in Nevada or South Carolina by February 18. Bloomberg, who entered the race in late November, scored 10 per cent in a Fox News national poll in January.

Biden’s support has plummeted since the previous Quinnipiac poll on January 28, when he held the lead at 26 per cent. In that poll, Sanders was second with 21 per cent and Bloomberg had 8 per cent.

Notably, Monday’s poll showed Biden’s support cratering among black voters, from 49 per cent on January 28 to 27 per cent in the latest poll, a drop of 22 percentage points. Biden has been counting on support from African American voters and has staked his candidacy on doing well in South Carolina, where about 60 per cent of Democratic voters are black.

 

Bloomberg appeared to be the biggest beneficiary of Biden’s fall, jumping 15 percentage points among black voters, from 7 per cent to 22 per cent over the same time period. None of the other candidates saw their numbers with African Americans change dramatically.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren came in fourth in the February poll with 14 per cent, followed by Buttigieg at 10 per cent. The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, emerged from the February 3 Iowa caucuses with the most delegates and has seen his numbers rise in New Hampshire before that state votes on Tuesday, but this poll doesn’t show that support spreading nationally.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar came in at 4 per cent. No other candidate had more than 2 per cent.

 

Quinnipiac analyst Tim Malloy said Biden’s slide in the poll appears to be correlated with a similar slide in a poll question on the ability to win. “Clearly Biden’s fourth-place finish in Iowa has hurt the perception of what was his biggest strength — electability,” he said.

The survey of 665 Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters nationwide was conducted February 5-9 and has a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points.

Published on February 11, 2020
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