Biden leads Sanders by 2-to-1 margin among Democratic primary voters: Poll

WASHINGTON — With the Democratic nomination race now down to a one-on-one contest between former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Democratic primary voters now back Biden — who was a distant second to Sanders just one month ago — by an overwhelming two-to-one margin, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

The survey found that 61 percent of Democratic voters support Biden, while just 32 back Sanders. Four percent choose Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who has not yet dropped out of the race despite failing to finish in the top three in any U.S. state primary or caucus to date.

Biden’s surge of more than 45 percentage points in four weeks shows how quickly he became the consensus choice of Democratic voters as the field narrowed down to just two major candidates. The NBC News/WSJ poll in February, which was conducted before Biden’s decisive win in the South Carolina primary changed the trajectory of the race, found Sanders besting Biden 27 percent to 15 percent, while candidates who have since dropped out — former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar — split the remainder of the vote.

Each of those candidates except Warren has since thrown their support behind Biden.

Democratic voters are also significantly more likely than they were last month to say they are enthusiastic about Biden’s campaign. In February, just 13 percent said they were enthusiastic about him, while 43 percent said they were merely comfortable, and a combined 43 percent said they had reservations or were uncomfortable. Now, 37 percent say they’re enthusiastic about Biden, 37 percent say they are comfortable, and just 25 percent express reservations or discomfort.

For Sanders, less has changed since February. This month, a combined 66 percent of Democratic voters say they are either enthusiastic (27 percent) or comfortable (39 percent) with him. Last month, it was a combined 65 percent.

The former vice president has significant leads among almost every key Democratic voting group; he has the support of 60 percent of white voters, 77 percent of African-American voters, 64 percent of women and 79 percent of voters over 50.

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Democratic primaries on March 10, 2020
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Democratic primaries on March 10, 2020
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., visits custodian Davonta Bynes, from left, principal DaRhonda Evans-Stewart and social worker Kim Little outside a polling location at Warren E. Bow Elementary School in Detroit, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., visits outside a polling location at Warren E. Bow Elementary School in Detroit, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Voters leave a polling location at Bow Elementary in Detroit, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Voters arrive with masks in light of the coronavirus COVID-19 health concern at Warren E. Bow Elementary School in Detroit, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., visits outside a polling location at Warren E. Bow Elementary School in Detroit, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Voters mark their ballots at the Lauderdale County courthouse annex in Meridian Miss., Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star via AP)
Amour Fowler, a Jackson, Miss., precinct poll manager delivers a ballot to a curbside voter in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, March 10, 2020. Mississippi is one of several states holding presidential party primaries today. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
A voter walks into a Jackson, Miss., precinct, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. Mississippi is one of several states holding presidential party primaries today. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Bernell Jeuitt uses a special ballot reading machine for visually or hearing impaired or handicapped voters in a Jackson, Miss., precinct, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. Mississippi is one of several states holding party primaries today. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Voters work on their ballots in the kiosks in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, March 10, 2020. Mississippi is one of several states holding presidential party primaries today. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
A Democratic presidential primary ballot sits next to a roll of "I Voted" stickers in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, March 10, 2020. Mississippi is one of several states holding presidential party primaries today. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
A voter takes advantage of the hand sanitizer to "clean up" after voting in the presidential party primary in Ridgeland, Miss., Tuesday, March 10, 2020. Polling locations are providing hand sanitizers for voters to use as a cautionary measure in light of the coronavirus health concern nationwide. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
A voter accepts an "I Voted" sticker from Ridgeland, Miss., precinct worker Cliff Smith, right, as she exits after voting in the party presidential primary, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Wearing gloves, a King County Election worker collect ballots from a drop box in the Washington State primary, Tuesday, March 10, 2020, in Seattle. Washington is a vote by mail state. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
King County Election workers collect ballots from a drop box in the Washington State primary, Tuesday, March 10, 2020 in Seattle. Washington is a vote by mail state. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Voters drop off ballots in the Washington State primary, Tuesday, March 10, 2020 in Seattle. Washington is a vote by mail state. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
A sign restricting visitors is displayed on the door at the Issaquah Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Issaquah, east of Seattle, the site of the latest death from the new coronavirus in Washington state on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. The Issaquah Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Tuesday, announced that five residents and two staff have tested positive for the new coronavirus. They said a resident also died over the weekend. (AP Photo/Martha Bellisle)
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But, as Sanders noted on Wednesday when he announced his intention to stay in the race, Biden’s performance with young Democratic voters remains a glaring weak spot. Among voters under 35, just a quarter chose Biden, while seven-in-ten pick Sanders.

Biden leads Trump by 9 points in a one-to-one matchup

Among all registered voters, Biden leads President Trump outside the poll’s margin of error in a head-to-head contest. In a hypothetical one-on-one general election contest, 52 percent of all voters say they would choose Biden, while 43 percent say they would choose Trump.

For Sanders, it’s 49 percent saying they would support the Vermont senator, while 45 percent back Trump.

In the matchup between Biden and Trump, Biden has the backing of a majority of independents (59 percent), women (63 percent), and white voters with a college degree (53 percent). He is also the overwhelming choice of nonwhite voters, getting support from 70 percent of Latinos and 84 percent of black voters.

Trump receives majority support from white voters (51 percent), men (53 percent), and white voters without a college degree (57 percent.)

Among suburban voters, Biden gets 49 percent while Trump gets 45 percent.

And among voters in 2016 swing states, Biden gets 50 percent, while Trump gets 42 percent.

Still, Trump continues to enjoy the most fervent support from his backers. Among all voters, 27 percent say they’re enthusiastic about his candidacy, compared with 15 percent for Biden and 13 percent for Sanders.

But nearly half of all voters — 48 percent — say they’re very uncomfortable with his run. That’s compared with 31 percent who say the same of Biden and 42 percent who say the same of Sanders.

The NBC News/WSJ live-caller poll was conducted March 11-13, 2020. The poll surveyed 900 registered voters, including 438 Democratic primary voters. The margin of error for all voters is +/- 3.27 percentage points. The margin of error for Democratic primary voters is +/- 4.68 percentage points.

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