National Polls Indicate Three-Way Dead Heat in Democrat Primary Race

Biden, Warren, Sanders
Justin Sullivan & JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

There is no longer a clear frontrunner in the Democrat primary race, with Joe Biden (D), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in a virtual dead heat nationally, as recent polls indicate.

The Economist/YouGov surveyed 1,500 U.S. citizens (1,198 of which were registered voters) September 22 – 24, 2019. Respondents were asked, “If the Democratic presidential primary or caucus in your state were held today, who would you vote for?”

The poll shows both Biden and Warren tied for first place, earning 25 percent support each among Democrat primary voters. Sanders – who has been struggling to overtake his ideological ally, Warren, came in third place with 16 percent support. Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) came in fourth with seven percent, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) dropped to fifth place with six percent support. Ten percent of respondents said they are “not sure,” and the remaining candidates garnered two percent support or less.

The margin of error is +/- 2.8 percent when adjusted for weighting and +/- 2.9 percent for registered voters.

The September 2019 Emerson poll – taken September 21-23 – told a similar story, with Biden, Warren, and Sanders dominating the top tier with a three-point spread.

The poll shows Biden with 25 percent support and Warren and Sanders closely behind with 23 percent and 22 percent support, respectively. While Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) have dominated the top of the second tier, Andrew Yang came in fourth place, earning eight percent support, followed by Buttigieg with six percent and Harris with four percent. The remaining candidates did not crack two percent support. The margin of error is +/- 4.6 percent, indicating a dead heat for first place among Biden, Warren, and Sanders.

The Economist/YouGov poll shows Sanders continuing to hold the edge with voters under 50 and Biden continuing to appeal to older voters:

Sanders continues to hold an advantage with voters under 50, with 28% support from that group of voters. Conversely, Biden continues to dominate the older vote with 42% support from those aged 50 or over. Warren competes with her rivals with both age groups, as she receives 23% support from those under 50 and 23% support among those 50 and over.

Among voters who supported Sanders in 2016, 37% still support him, 23% now support Warren, 10% now support Biden and 9% now support Yang. In contrast, among those who supported Hillary Clinton in 2016, 41% now support Biden, 22% support Warren, 14% support Sanders, and 6% support Harris.

Emerson Polling also showed the top three Democrat candidates in tight head-to-head general election matchups. It showed Warren performing the best, beating President Trump 51 percent to 49 percent. Biden beat Trump 50 percent to 49 percent, and Sanders performed the worst, losing to Trump with 49 percent to Trump’s 51 percent.


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