The Slatest

Biden, Warren, Sanders Cement Position Atop the Democratic Field

Democratic presidential hopefuls Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren hug after participating in the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season in Detroit, Michigan on July 30, 2019.
Democratic presidential hopefuls Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren hug after participating in the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season in Detroit, Michigan on July 30, 2019.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/Getty Images

The field of Democratic presidential contenders is increasingly a story of three as another new poll shows Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren as the clear frontrunners while everyone else is clustered at the bottom. The new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows the former vice president continues to have the clear lead among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents with 27 percent, followed by Sanders with 19 percent and Warren with 17 percent.

Warren is the candidate that has seen the biggest gain in support with an increase of six points from the 11 percent support she had in early July. Biden has remained steady, dropping only two percentage points from July while Sanders dropped four points. The other contenders are all firmly in the single digits with Kamala Harris coming in a distant fourth place with 7 percent, a four-point decline from July. Pete Buttigieg remains steady at 4 percent and Beto O’Rourke and Andrew Yang have 3 percent each. Everyone else came in at 1 percent or less.

Even though Democratic voters seem to be focusing on the top three candidates, the poll also makes clear there is plenty of room for shifts and movements in support. Almost six out of every 10 Democratic-leaning voters said they could still switch their support. In that arena, Biden has a clear advantage as 64 percent of those who back him say they will definitely support him. That is pretty much the mirror image for the rest of the candidates who have supporters that are more willing to switch their preference. Biden also has a clear advantage in the perceived electability front as 45 percent of Democratic voters see him as having the best chance to beat President Donald Trump, which is unchanged from July despite what many saw as an unimpressive performance in the debates. Sanders comes in a distant second place with 14 percent and Warren with 12 percent.

A CBS/YouGov delegate tracker released Sunday also shows Biden in the lead while Warren is clearly rising. Biden has 600 delegates in early votes through Super Tuesday, compared to Warren’s 545. Sanders comes in third place with 286 delegates. Things are particularly tight in New Hampshire where Warren holds a narrow lead of 27 percent, compared to Biden’s 26 percent and 25 percent for Sanders. And while the survey shows Biden has the lead in perceived electability, Warren is also rising on that front.