Sanders Leads by Double Digits In 2 National Polls, Biden Loses Ground With African American Voters Ahead of Nevada

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont held a double digit lead in two new national polls released ahead of the Nevada caucuses, while Vice President Joe Biden lost significant ground with African American voters.

A NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, released Tuesday, showed Sanders holding his 12-point lead over the Democratic field with 27 percent of support. Biden followed behind with 15 percent, while former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Senator Elizabeth Warren tied for third, with 14 percent each.

Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg came in fifth with 13 percent and Senator Amy Klobuchar sixth with seven percent. The poll surveyed 426 Democratic primary voters between February 14 and 17. The margin of error is 4.75 percentage points.

"There is one clear and inescapable set of results: Bernie Sanders is the definitive front-runner, and the current numbers do not represent his ceiling, but instead his base with room to grow," said Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who co-conducted the survey alongside GOP pollster Bill McInturff. "His downsides are there, but they're yet to be exploited by his opponents."

Bernie Sanders
Democratic presidential hopeful Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders arrives to speak at a Primary Night event at the SNHU Field House in Manchester, New Hampshire on February 11, 2020. Timothy A. Clary/Getty

Sanders' position remains unchanged from NBC News/WSJ's January poll, taken ahead of the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, which also had him at 27 percent. However, Biden's position has dropped 11 percent, from 26 percent last month, following a disappointing run in the two early-voting states.

Although the former vice president is still leading the field among African American primary voters, their support for him has drastically dropped 14 percentage points, from 52 percent in January to 38 percent. Sanders support among Democratic voters in that demographic has remained in the 20s over the past month, while Bloomberg, a rising competitor, saw his figure double from January to 18 percent now.

"Biden's support with African Americans is under assault," McInturff said.

Newsweek reached out to Sanders and Biden's campaign for comment.

Another poll by NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist, released on Tuesday, similarly showed Sanders leading the Democratic field nationally by 12 points with 31 percent support, a nine point increase from December. In that survey, Bloomberg came in second with 19 percent and Biden dropped to third with 15 percent, a nine point decrease from December.

Bloomberg will take the debate stage for the first time on Wednesday night. The billionaire recently qualified after having spent over $300 million of his own money on political advertisements. Sanders and Warren have repeatedly criticized Bloomberg for allegedly attempting to buy the presidency.