Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has doubled his lead over President Donald Trump in a hypothetical general election match-up, according to new polling from Morning Consult.
The latest data, which was drawn from surveys of more than 40,000 registered voters from January 6 to 12, showed Sanders beating Trump by 4 percentage points, up from a previous 2 percent lead, at 46 percent compared to the president’s 42 percent. Although Biden still performs slightly better—46 percent compared to 41 percent for Trump—Morning Consult noted that Sanders outperformed Biden among independents and young voters, or those 18 to 29 years old.
“Some Democrats are nervous that giving Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist, the party’s presidential nomination would make it harder to achieve their ultimate goal of making President Donald Trump a one-term president,” Eli Yokley of Morning Consult noted in a blog post about the results.
However, Yokley added that this perspective didn’t match its polling results. “Sanders performs better than his rivals, including front-runner Joe Biden, with groups viewed as key to beating the unpopular incumbent.”
Media pundits and analysts have been noting Sanders’ resurgence in national and state-level polls since December, as the senator had appeared to slump in 2019 as fellow progressive candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts had surged along with more moderate former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana. Meanwhile, Biden has remained strong in polling nationwide, while Warren and Buttigieg remain to be strong contenders for the Democratic nomination.
Even Trump noted that Sanders was growing prominence in the primary with a Sunday tweet.
“Wow! Crazy Bernie Sanders is surging in the polls, looking very good against his opponents in the Do Nothing Party,” the president wrote. “So what does this all mean? Stay tuned!”
Sanders later retweeted Trump’s post, writing: “It means you’re going to lose.”
The Morning Consult data also showed that Sanders continues to have the highest name recognition and favorability among Democratic primary voters. While 71 percent of respondents said they have a favorable opinion of Biden, 76 percent said the same of Sanders. Comparatively, 65 percent viewed Warren favorably, while just 50 percent said the same of Buttigieg. Biden was also viewed unfavorably by 22 percent of prospective Democratic voters, but only 17 percent of them had a negative perception of Sanders.
Recent polls have also shown Sanders leading in early primary states. In Iowa, the senator was supported by 20 percent of respondents, followed by Warren at 17 percent, then Buttigieg at 16 percent and Biden at just 15 percent, according to a Des Moines Register/CNN survey conducted from January 2 to 8. Similarly, in New Hampshire, a poll conducted by CBS News and YouGov from December 27 to January 3 showed Sanders in the lead with 27 percent support, followed by Biden at 25 percent. Warren came in third with 18 percent and Buttigieg fourth, with 13 percent.
But Biden maintains strong support from black Democratic voters, a demographic seen as key to success in the primary. A Washington Post/Ipsos poll released last week, which surveyed black voters, showed that Biden was the candidate of choice for 48 percent of respondents. Sanders came in second with 20 percent, while none of the other candidates garnered more than single digits of support from the vital demographic.
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