Polls Show Biden and Sanders Locked in Tight Race for Democrat Votes

(CN) – With less than two weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses kick off the 2020 primary season, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden look to be the national front-runners for the Democratic presidential nomination according to a pair of polls released Wednesday.

A CNN poll shows that Sanders currently enjoys 27% support from registered Democrat and Democratic-leaning independent voters nationally, while Biden remains close behind with 24% support – a statistical dead heat given the poll’s margin of error.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren took a distant third with 14% support and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg came in fourth at 11%. No other candidate cracked double-digit support.

Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., left and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, right greet each other as former Vice President Joe Biden, looks on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, before a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Sanders’s top showing in the poll represents significant gains for the senator since last month, rising 7 points in the December CNN poll. Support for Sanders has been bolstered among key voting groups in the Democratic primary race, with 33% of liberals and 30% of voters of color now supporting the Vermont independent.

Sanders also leads the field when it comes to voter enthusiasm and voter beliefs. Nearly a third of voters say Sanders is the candidate they most agree with when it comes to key issues, while 38% say they are enthusiastic about Sanders wining the Democratic nomination.

Biden, meanwhile, continues to lead in the area of electability. Nearly half (45%) of Democratic voters say Biden has better odds of being able to defeat President Donald Trump come the general election.

Voters as well believe Biden has the potential to be the biggest uniting figure should he get elected. Around a fourth of voters say they think Biden has the best chance to unite not just the Democratic party but the whole county if he is elected president.

The CNN poll reports that regardless of who is nominated, Trump is likely to experience a tough re-election bid once the general election gets underway – each of the Democratic candidates leads the president in hypothetical one-on-one matchups.

A Monmouth University poll tells a similar story. That poll reports that most voters are itching for a challenger to overtake the president in the election, with 57% of registered voters saying they think it is time for a new Oval Office occupant.

Voters remain torn, however, on who that challenger to Trump should be. Among Democrats and those who lean Democratic, 30% of voters support Biden, 23% support Sanders, and 14% support Warren according to the Monmouth poll.

No other candidate earned double-digit support in the poll, though former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg comes the closest with 9% support.

Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, the race looks much as it has in recent months but that could all change once the actual voting begins.

“With the exception of Bloomberg’s entry, this race looks pretty much like it did six months ago. But that stability masks the potential for sizable swings once the first contests are held. Iowa and New Hampshire will play a major role in shaping national voter preferences,” Murray said with the release of the poll.

Voters are starting to grow fatigued with how primary voting takes place, however. Over half (58%) of Democrats say the current primary schedule should be overhauled and replaced with a system that allows every state to hold their primary or caucus contest on the same day. Only 11% of voters would like to keep the voting schedule the same.

This desire to change is largely driven by the fact that many believe voters in the early states like Iowa and New Hampshire have too much influence on the overall nomination process. The poll reports that 56% of voters say that Iowa and New Hampshire’s influence on who wins the Democratic nomination has grown too large, while another 62% say that the current voting calendar allows too many voters to have far too much influence over others.

Murray suggests these concerns are born not out of animosity for voters in early states, but rather out of a desire to see the Democratic process carried out as effectively and fairly as possible.

“Most Democratic voters would like to see an overhaul of the primary calendar. This view appears to be more out of a sense of fairness to the party’s diverse electorate than concerns they might have about the ability of Iowa and New Hampshire voters to properly vet the field,” Murray said in the statement.

The CNN poll had sample size of 500 registered voters and has a 5.3% margin of error.  The Monmouth University poll surveyed 847 registered voters and has 3.4% margin of error.

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