Biden falls in poll; Warren, Sanders gain
WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Joe Biden lost ground this summer to two of his more liberal challengers, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, according to a national Democratic primary poll from Monmouth University released Monday.
The mid-August poll found a virtual three-way tie between the top candidates. Biden’s support among Democratic voters for the party’s nomination fell to 19% from 32% in June, while support for Warren, D-Mass., and Sanders, I-Vt., each rose slightly to 20%, from 15% and 14%, respectively.
The poll comes a week after Biden released a television ad that cited recent polling to boast of his own electability against President Donald Trump. “All the polls agree Joe Biden is the strongest Democrat to do the job,” the ad’s narrator declared, citing recent hypothetical matchup polls between Biden and Trump.
The Monmouth poll is the first major national survey to show Biden without at least a slight edge in primary preference. The survey found his support fell broadly across demographic groups, among liberals, moderates, white and nonwhite voters.
“The main takeaway from this poll is that the Democratic race has become volatile,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute. “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.”
The share of Democratic voters who have a favorable view of Biden has also steadily declined. His net favorability margin — the share of voters who have a favorable view of him minus those who have an unfavorable view of him — fell to 41 in August from 57 in May and 71 in January.
At the same time, the net favorability margin for Warren rose to 52 in August from 46 in May and 40 in January. Sanders support has been more steady, 40 in August, dipping from 44 in May and 49 in January.
The Monmouth poll contrasts with other national surveys this month showing Biden holding a steady advantage. A CNN poll released last week found 29% of Democratic-leaning voters supported Biden, compared with 15% for Sanders and 14% for Warren.
The Democratic National Committee has recognized the Monmouth survey as a qualifying poll for the next two debates, but the results released Monday had no effect on who will make the September debates. Author Marianne Williamson was the only candidate who has not qualified for that event to score 2% or more. She needs three more polls at 2% or higher by Wednesday to qualify.
Tom Steyer needs one more poll, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, DHawaii, needs two more polls and Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand, DN.Y., needs three more polls.
The poll, conducted between Aug. 16 and 20 by telephone, surveyed a sample of 298 registered voters who identify as Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 5.7 percentage points.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has slipped in a national poll to a virtual tie with Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.