A Monmouth University Poll released Monday revealed a massive shift in the Democrat primary race, showing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and former Vice President Joe Biden (D) in a statistical three-way tie.
The poll, taken August 16–20 among 800 U.S. adults, shows both Warren and Sanders tying with 20 percent support, followed by Biden – the longheld frontrunner – who dropped to third place with 19 percent support. With a +/- 5.7 percent margin of error, the three are statistically tied. This spells trouble for the Biden campaign and signals, as Monmouth suggests, that the “2020 presidential nomination process may be entering a volatile stage”:
The poll finds a virtual three-way tie among Sanders (20%), Warren (20%), and Biden (19%) in the presidential nomination preferences of registered Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters across the country. Compared to Monmouth’s June poll, these results represent an increase in support for both Sanders (up from 14%) and Warren (up from 15%), and a significant drop for Biden (down from 32%).
The poll did not show any major shakeups among the remaining candidates. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) maintained her fourth place position with eight percent support, followed by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), and Andrew Yang, (D) with four percent, four percent, and three percent, respectively. Julián Castro (D), Beto O’Rourke (D), and Marianne Williamson (D) all garnered two percent. The remaining candidates saw once percent support or less.
The biggest takeaway from Monmouth’s poll, of course, is Biden’s fall. According to the survey, the former vice president is losing ground among key demographics, including black voters, white voters, and women. Much of his lost support is evenly distributed between Warren and Sanders.
Biden has suffered an across the board decline in his support since June. He lost ground with white Democrats (from 32% to 18%) and voters of color (from 33% to 19%), among voters without a college degree (from 35% to 18%) and college graduates (from 28% to 20%), with both men (from 38% to 24%) and women (from 29% to 16%), and among voters under 50 years old (from 21% to 6%) as well as voters aged 50 and over (from 42% to 33%). Most of Biden’s lost support in these groups shifted almost equally toward Sanders and Warren.
“The main takeaway from this poll is that the Democratic race has become volatile. Liberal voters are starting to cast about for a candidate they can identify with. Moderate voters, who have been paying less attention, seem to be expressing doubts about Biden,” Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said.
He added that Democrat voters are “swinging more toward one of the left-leaning contenders with high name recognition rather than toward a lesser known candidate who might be more in line with them politically.”
“It’s important to keep in mind this is just one snapshot from one poll,” he added. “But it does raise warning signs of increased churning in the Democratic nomination contest now that voters are starting to pay closer attention.”
Recent polls have signaled Biden losing his grip. His lead slowly continues to shrink, as reflected by the current Real Clear Politics average.