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Expand chart
Data: RealClearPolitics; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Bernie Sanders hasn't picked up the voters who are deserting Joe Biden, but he's the clear beneficiary of the former vice president's rapid collapse.

The big picture: Of the top six candidates in the race, Sanders' polling numbers have changed the least over the last few weeks — but Biden's fall has made Sanders the biggest winner, since the moderate vote is now splintered four ways.

By the numbers: Biden's national polling cratered, from 28.7% on Jan. 27 to 19.2% as of Feb. 12, with most of the damage done after his fourth-place finish in the Feb. 3 Iowa caucus, according to the RealClearPolitics average.

  • Mike Bloomberg and Pete Buttigieg climbed 6.5 and 3.5 points, respectively, in that time. (Elizabeth Warren dipped 2.6 points and Amy Klobuchar edged up less than a point.)
  • But the large, moderate voting bloc that propelled Biden is now splitting between multiple candidates.

Between the lines: Biden has lost his electability aura on top of his standing in the polls. He dropped from 29% to 17% in a Morning Consult poll this week that asked Democratic voters who they considered as having the best chance of beating Trump.

  • That shift put him in third place behind Sanders (29%) and Bloomberg (25%).

One key stat: Sanders has lower polling numbers than any of at least the past five primary front-runners — Democrat or Republican — at this point in the cycle, according to RCP data.

What to watch: Buttigieg is riding the momentum of winning Iowa and finishing a close second to Sanders in New Hampshire. But he needs money to keep going. He is not expected to perform as well with South Carolina's black voters, either.

  • Buttigieg national press secretary Chris Meagher told Axios the campaign is confident it has the resources and volunteers to compete in all of the remaining primary states.
  • Meanwhile, Bloomberg has yet to go head-to-head with candidates on the debate stage and didn't even try to compete in early voting states. He's betting on his all but unlimited resources funneled into big-delegate states to win the nomination.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Education: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge — Pfizer to supply 40 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries — Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca vaccine.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

DOJ: Capitol rioter threatened to "assassinate" Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Supporters of former President Trump storm the U.S. Captiol on Jan. 6. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A Texas man who has been charged with storming the U.S. Capitol in the deadly Jan. 6 siege posted death threats against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the Department of Justice said.

The big picture: Garret Miller faces five charges in connection to the riot by supporters of former President Trump, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and making threats. According to court documents, Miller posted violent threats online the day of the siege, including tweeting “Assassinate AOC.”

Schumer calls for IG probe into alleged plan by Trump, DOJ lawyer to oust acting AG

Jeffrey Clark speaks next to Deputy US Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen at a news conference in October. Photo: Yuri Gripas/AFP via Getty Images.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Saturday called for the Justice Department inspector general to investigate an alleged plan by former President Trump and a DOJ lawyer to remove the acting attorney general and replace him with someone more willing to investigate unfounded claims of election fraud.

Driving the news: The New York Times first reported Friday that the lawyer, Jeffrey Clark, allegedly devised "ways to cast doubt on the election results and to bolster Mr. Trump’s continuing legal battles and the pressure on Georgia politicians. Because Mr. [Jeffrey] Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to carry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark."

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