ermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has opened a commanding lead over his rivals in Wisconsin’s Democratic primary race after strong performances in early-voting states, according to a new statewide poll.
The Wisconsin poll, coordinated by the UW-Madison Elections Research Center in collaboration with the Wisconsin State Journal, also shows a precipitous decline in support for former Vice President Joe Biden and an upswing for the newcomer to the race, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Sanders, who won the state’s 2016 presidential primary, was the top choice for 30% of registered voters intending to vote in the Democratic primary on April 7. The five other top Democratic contenders besides Sanders find themselves scrabbling for second place with between 9% and 13% support.
“Bernie Sanders is clearly the leader among Democrats,” said UW-Madison political science professor Barry Burden, who has developed a new battleground state polling project in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania through his Elections Research Center. “He has a pretty commanding position.”
Despite Sanders’ position in the primary, he doesn’t fare much better in the general election than the other Democratic contenders, who each have slight leads over President Donald Trump in a hypothetical match-up, but all within the poll’s margin of error.
“In the general, who the nominee is didn’t do much to change what voters’ likely intentions were,” Burden said.
Sanders also leads among Democratic primary voters in Michigan and Pennsylvania, but by smaller margins, the poll found.
The poll was conducted Feb. 11-20 by YouGov, which has also done polls for CBS News, The Economist and other news outlets.
The opt-in online poll includes 1,000 registered voters in Wisconsin, 1,300 in Michigan and 1,300 in Pennsylvania. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.1, 3.4 and 3.2 percentage points, respectively. For the Democratic primary voter sample in Wisconsin the margin of error is plus or minus 6 percentage points. The sample was selected and weighted to reflect the adult population in each state based on gender, age, race and education.
Earlier this week in a conversation about the Sanders campaign and the behavior of his staff and supporters I referred to his campaign spokesperson as coming from the Island of Misfit Black Girls. It was a harmful and unnecessary comment and I apologize.
BREAKING – Data at the precinct level for 33 majority-Latino precincts statewide shows Sanders winning 74% of final alignment votes in these 33 precincts compared to 18% for Biden. As more data is reported, we will release updated analysis – by @MichaelHerndon_ & @mfr_romanpic.twitter.com/7UAWr9QbjE
Going into the debate, here’s the latest NBC/WSJ poll.
Only 6 candidates are at the podiums tonight. One of them isn’t Tom Steyer. Instead, he’s been replaced by another billionaire, Mike Bloomberg. He failed to qualify.
(photo credit: WaPo)
The debate is scheduled to be from 8-10 CT in Las Vegas. Moderators will be from NBC News, MSNBC, and The Nevada Independent. Not exactly Bernie neutral panel. But will they try to ask some substantive questions, or will it be more about how each candidate’s campaign will handle the electability issue, which was the overarching theme of the CNN town halls last night.
This will be the ninth Democratic debate but the first featuring former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, and he is bound to face an avalanche of attacks from his rivals. Mr. Bloomberg’s rise in recent polls has coincided with the decline of Joseph R. Biden Jr., who needs a big debate performance to recover from stinging losses in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Senator Bernie Sanders, who appears in strong shape heading into Nevada’s caucuses on Saturday, simply needs to continue avoiding the scrutiny that some rivals have received in past debates. Tonight is also a chance for Senator Elizabeth Warren to regain her footing pre-Super Tuesday and for Pete Buttigieg to show he can speak to the concerns of a racially diverse electorate. The surge of Senator Amy Klobuchar in New Hampshire after one strong debate showed just how much these television spectacles can matter.
Should be entertaining, but I hope it’s more serious than that. So, do we take a sip everytime Bernie Bros comes up? Or Obama’s legacy issues? Or if the framing of the questions are about electability, not the substance of the issues?
Bar is open. More conversations to be found in the comments below.