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

Updated Jul 10, 2020 - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

South Carolina restaurants and bars will have to close alcohol sales by 11 p.m., beginning Saturday, under an order issued Friday by Gov. Henry McMaster.

The big picture: The U.S. had another record single-day spike of 63,200 new coronavirus cases from Thursday. COVID-19 cases in South Carolina have increased, with 21,560 cases recorded in the last two weeks.

Biden compares "tragic" death of George Floyd to Eric Garner

Joe Biden at a virtual event last month. Photo: via Getty Images

Before former Vice President Joe Biden began his virtual event with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf Wednesday, he addressed the recent officer-involved death of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis.

What they're saying: Biden referenced the 2014 death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who died after a New York police officer used an illegal chokehold on him during an arrest.

Catherine Cortez Masto withdraws from consideration as Biden running mate

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) announced on Thursday that she is withdrawing her name from consideration as Joe Biden's running mate, AP reports.

Why it matters: Masto, one of a dozen or so women under consideration for Biden's VP pick, was the first Latina woman elected to the Senate in 2016. Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had advocated on her behalf as a potential Biden running mate.