Biden, Sanders Running Neck-and-Neck With Nevada Democrats

(CN) – Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders surged to a statistical tie with former Vice President Joe Biden among Nevada voters while Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts saw a sizeable decline in support in the Silver State, according to a new poll.

From left, Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., raise their hands to answer a question during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by ABC at Texas Southern University in Houston on Sept. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

A Suffolk University/Reno Gazette Journal poll released Tuesday reports that among likely Democratic caucus goers in Nevada, Biden barely leads the pack of Democratic candidates with 19% support. He holds a one-point advantage over Sanders at 18% – a statistical dead heat.

Warren lands in third place among Nevada Democrats at 11% support. This represents a significant drop for Warren in Nevada, who enjoyed 19% support in a Reno Gazette Journal poll conducted this past September.

Two candidates who saw increases in support are South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who has seen surging numbers in two states voting before Nevada, and billionaire businessman Tom Steyer, who has aggressively advertised in the state in recent months. Both candidates tied for fourth with 8% support, up five points from the 3% both candidates had in the fall.

Businessman Andrew Yang and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar rounded out the top five tied at 4% support. No other Democratic candidate for president cracked over 2% support in the poll.

One crucial factor that could have a big influence on the Nevada caucus, the third contest Democratic candidates will face in their bid for their party’s nomination, is that many Nevada voters remain largely uncommitted. Nearly a quarter of likely Democratic caucus goers in the state say they are still undecided on who to support, while another 45% say they could change their mind before the caucus.

Nevada Democrats are much firmer on what kind of policies they want to see from the Democratic nominee. Over 80% want to see higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans as well as a Medicare-for-all health care plan. Over 70% want the candidate to support the Green New Deal and making higher education free.

Democrats remain split on what issue is their top priority. When asked to name which issue most affects their support for a candidate, health care (22%), climate change (14%) and the overall economy (10%) came up as the three most important issues.

Only 4% of Democrats said the ability to defeat President Donald Trump in the general is the most important issue. More Democrats in Nevada are generally concerned with having a candidate who can beat Trump than one who shares their personal values and beliefs, however.

Democrats in the state expressed little enthusiasm for attending the rallies or events of the candidates who have regularly visited their state this election cycle. Despite over 100 visits to Nevada by Democratic candidates for president, only a fifth of respondents have attended an event in person.

The poll reports that Nevada Democrats are much more willing to participate via their television screens, however. Three quarters of Democrats say they intend to tune in to the CNN/Des Moines Register debate Tuesday evening to see the top six Democratic candidates square off for the last time before the Iowa caucus.

The Suffolk University/Reno Gazette Journal contained a sample size of 500 likely caucus goers and has a 4.4% margin of error.

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