Feb 19, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Polls: Sanders in control over Biden, Bloomberg

Photos: Brett Carlsen/AFP via Getty Images; Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images; Sean Rayford/Getty Images

A group of top national polls released this week show Bernie Sanders in control of the 2020 Democratic race ahead of Wednesday's debate in Las Vegas.

The state of play: Joe Biden, who has been at the top of the polls for months, plunged after lackluster performances in Iowa and New Hampshire — allowing Sanders to surge ahead as billionaire Mike Bloomberg has cut into the former vice president's lead among moderate voters.

The results

Washington Post-ABC News:

  • Sanders: 32% (up 9% since January)
  • Biden: 16% (-16%)
  • Bloomberg: 14% (+6%)
  • Warren: 12% (even)
  • Buttigieg: 8% (+8%)
  • Klobuchar: 7% (+4%)

NBC News-Wall Street Journal:

  • Sanders: 27% (even since January)
  • Biden: 15% (-11%)
  • Bloomberg: 14% (+5%)
  • Warren: 14% (-1%)
  • Buttigieg: 13% (+6%)
  • Klobuchar: 7% (+2%)

NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist:

  • Sanders: 31% (up 9% since December)
  • Bloomberg: 19% (+15%)
  • Biden: 15% (-9%)
  • Elizabeth Warren: 12% (-5%)
  • Amy Klobuchar: 9% (+5%)
  • Pete Buttigieg: 8% (-5%)

What to watch: The Nevada debate marks the first time Bloomberg has qualified and will be on stage with the rest of the contenders.

  • His rivals plan to curb his rise by painting him as a Democratic version of PresidentTrump — an egomaniac New York billionaire who's stained by sexism and racial slights, and hell-bent on buying power and puppeteering mass media, write Axios' Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen.

Worth noting: Because the primary process is conducted on a state-by-state basis, national polls often have their limitations, but these results from three major pollsters crystallize the trend lines currently at play in the race.

Go deeper

4 takeaways from the Nevada Democratic debate

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The relative civility of the last eight Democratic debates was thrown by the wayside Wednesday night, the first debate to feature the billionaire "boogeyman," Michael Bloomberg, whose massive advertising buys and polling surge have drawn the ire of the entire field.

The big picture: Pete Buttigieg captured the state of the race early on, noting that after Super Tuesday, the "two most polarizing figures on this stage" — Bloomberg and democratic socialist Bernie Sanders — could be the only ones left competing for the nomination. The rest of candidates fought to stop that momentum.

What to watch in the Nevada debate

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Cengiz Yardages and Mario Tama/Getty Images

Michael Bloomberg's wealth will fuel rather than shield him from tests and attacks when he makes his Democratic primary debate debut on the stage tonight in Las Vegas.

The state of play: Bernie Sanders is still the front-runner. So the other candidates must weigh which of the two presents a bigger threat to their viability: Sanders, with his combined delegate, polling and grassroots momentum? Or Bloomberg, with his bottomless budget?

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

What to watch in tonight's Democratic debate

Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally in Colorado. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Bernie Sanders is now the clear front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, and his opponents are ready to try to knock him down at tonight's debate in Charleston, South Carolina — especially Michael Bloomberg, who was the punching bag at the Las Vegas debate.

Why it matters: This is the last debate before Super Tuesday, when Sanders is expected to win California and Texas and could secure an insurmountable lead for the Democratic nomination. That's a direct threat to the entire field, but especially to Bloomberg, who skipped the early states to focus on the March 3 contests.