Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is riding high in the US Democratic race, while former Vice President Joe Biden is miserably sinking in national preference for the Democratic nomination for president.
Sanders, now 78 years old, advanced to 32% support among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, up 8 percentage points from late January.
Biden fell to 17%, down 11 points to his lowest of the campaign. And Bloomberg, who takes the stage for the first time in Wednesday night’s debate in Nevada, now has 14% support, up 6 points.
By contrast, there’s been little if any movement for former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a strong finisher in both early contests; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, third in New Hampshire; or Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who fell short in both. Warren has 11% support nationally, unchanged; Buttigieg, 7%; and Klobuchar, 6%.
Sanders’ newfound 15-point lead over Biden nearly doubles Biden’s biggest lead of the campaign, 8 points over Sanders in early September. That said, the most dramatic shifts aren’t in vote preferences but in views of who has the best chance to defeat President Donald Trump in November.
Electability’s been a cornerstone of Biden’s campaign, yet just 19% now say he’s likeliest to win, sliced in half from 38% in January.
Instead, 30% of leaned Democrats now see Sanders as most electable, up 12 points, and 18% say this about Bloomberg, up 10 points. The rest of the field is in single digits on the question.
Among groups, Biden’s support among blacks has declined from 51% last month to 32% now; he’s been looking for support from blacks as a boost to his campaign in the South Carolina primary on Feb. 29.
He lags with just 11% among whites.
Sanders, meanwhile, is prevailing among Hispanics, potentially an influential group in the Nevada caucuses this Saturday. Nonwhites overall – who account for half of all Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents – have gone from 35-28 percent, Biden-Sanders, last month, to 35-22 percent, Sanders-Biden, now.
Reported by ABC News Good Morning America