(CN) – Elizabeth Warren is doing something thought unlikely by those who criticized her for being unlikable or unelectable: She’s gaining ground in the Democratic presidential race, overtaking Bernie Sanders in two new polls released Wednesday.
The Massachusetts senator, who announced her candidacy in February, had fallen to middling poll numbers earlier this year. Most polls released in the spring told the same story over and over: Former Vice President Joe Biden leading the pack in the 20-30 percentage range, followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and a rotation of candidates to fill in third place.
Warren, however, has begun to grab more attention, cutting into Biden’s lead. In an Economist/YouGov national poll, Warren garnered 16% support from Democratic voters compared to Sanders at 12%. While Biden continues to lead at 26%, he dropped one point from last week as Warren picked up four percentage points and Sanders’ support remained the same.
While Sanders still maintains solid numbers over Warren in overall polling averages, Warren continues to trend upward in multiple polls.
In a Monmouth University poll of Nevada Democratic voters also released Wednesday, Biden leads at 36%, but Warren took second place at 19%, with Sanders at 13%. The last poll taken in the state by Morning Consult in May showed Biden at 38%, Sanders at 25% and Warren at just 8%.
As the number of Democratic candidates has risen, polling shows it’s clear Warren has been able to distinguish herself with a number of her detailed policy plans that favor labor. She supports raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and legislation that makes it easier for workers to form labor unions.
“Nevada’s highly unionized service sector workforce may be a good fit for Warren’s policy platform when you look at the Democratic electorates in the four early states. However, she is nowhere near the top tier in terms of candidate preferences among Latino and black voters, who make up a significant part of the party’s base here,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
While Biden remains more of a centrist candidate, Warren could upend Sanders as the favored left-of-center alternative. She has propped herself up to a favorable spot just in time for the first debate in two weeks.
The Economist/YouGov poll surveyed 1,107 registered voters from June 9-11 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. The Monmouth survey polled 1,333 registered voters from June 6-11 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.1 percentage points.