Joe Biden Surges Past Bernie Sanders To Become Democratic Frontrunner In Latest FiveThirtyEight Polling Forecast

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden now has the best odds of becoming his party's nominee, surging past progressive rival Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont after a garnering slew of endorsements in the days just before Super Tuesday, according to FiveThirtyEight's latest forecast.

Sanders, who secured the most pledged delegates in the first four state contests, was seen as the clear frontrunner going into Super Tuesday. But Biden's big Saturday win in South Carolina has reinvigorated his previously floundering campaign, causing moderate contenders Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg to suspend their campaigns and endorse the former vice president.

The latest FiveThirtyEight data now positions Biden as the most likely candidate to win the Democratic nomination, with odds of three in 10, or 31 percent. Sanders' odds are projected to be one in 12, or just 8 percent. Meanwhile, the polling analysis site predicts that no candidate managing to outright secure the Democratic nomination has the best chance of happening, with odds of three in five or 61 percent.

Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks as Bernie Sanders looks on during the Democratic presidential primary debate at the Charleston Gaillard Center on February 25 in Charleston, South Carolina Win McNamee/Getty

Fourteen states and American Samoa will cast ballots in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, including the nation's most populous states, California and Texas. A total of 1,344 pledged delegates are up for grabs, good for a third of the total available delegates during the primary and caucus season. Nearly half (48 percent) of those delegates will come from California and Texas alone.

State-by-state polling by Data for Progress puts Sanders ahead in six of the 14 states, including a significant lead of seven points in California. Biden appears to be ahead in seven states, including a slim lead in Texas. While Biden polled at 30 percent support in the southwestern state, Sanders was close behind with 28 percent. Senator Elizabeth Warren is only the frontrunner in her home state of Massachusetts, with a narrow lead of 2 percent over Sanders.

Separate polling by Swayable also has Sanders ahead in six states, with a significant lead of 8 points in California and a very narrow edge of 1 percent in Texas. Biden is also ahead in six states according to that polling, while billionaire former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who will appear on ballots for the first time on Tuesday, is narrowly in the lead by 2 percent in Maine and Utah.

Biden is aiming for significant wins on Tuesday to counter Sanders and his progressive supporters. The former vice president has seen a surge in polls nationwide after his South Carolina victory, which was closely watched particularly due to its large population of black voters. Endorsements from Buttigieg, Klobuchar and former Democratic contender Beto O'Rourke on Monday evening could also help Biden consolidate voters behind his campaign.

Meanwhile, Sanders still appears set to perform well on Tuesday, particularly if he manages a strong finish in California and a win in Texas. But Biden's surge also increases the likelihood that no candidate will arrive at the Democratic National Convention in July with a majority of pledged delegates, meaning the votes of super delegates will likely have a significant influence on who the party's nominee will be.

Joe Biden Surges Past Bernie Sanders To Become Democratic Frontrunner In Latest FiveThirtyEight Polling Forecast | U.S.