Sen. Bernie Sanders jumped nine points to tie 2020 frontrunner and potential candidate Joe Biden in a mid-March Emerson College poll.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, though not officially declared as a 2020 Democrat candidate, has been dominating the top spot in polling. Emerson’s new survey marks a breakthrough for Vermont Sen. Sanders, who has gained nine points in a month.
Sanders and Biden tied at 26 percent support among 487 Democrat primary voters surveyed March 17-18. Emerson’s February poll had Sanders nine percent lower, a poll that was conducted before he had officially announced his 2020 candidacy for president.
Kamala Harris, freshman senator from California, trailed at 12 percent, and newly announced contender Robert “Beto” O’Rourke, failed 2018 Senate candidate from Texas, was just behind at 11 percent.
Bringing in single digits were Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at eight percent; South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker at three percent, and a host of other candidates at one percent or below.
Sanders held the lead among younger Democrats, the 18-29 and 30-49 age brackets at 42 and 30 percent, respectively. Biden pulled his support from older Democrats. Those in the 50-64 and 65+ age ranges favored Biden 39 and 33 percent, respectively.
In a general election head-to-head between President Donald Trump and each of the potential Democrat nominees, only Biden beat Trump by more than the poll’s margin of error. Biden garnered 55 percent to Trump’s 45 among 1,153 respondents surveyed. However, independent 2020 contender Howard Schultz threw a wrench in Biden’s lead, taking it down to 52 percent to Trump’s 44 percent when he was factored into a Trump-Biden-Schultz general election showdown. In the three-way race, Schultz pulled in four percent of those polled.