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Polls Show Bernie Sanders Surging at Just the Right Time

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Democratic primary may be on its way to a two-septuagenarian race, according to several polls released over the weekend. Though Joe Biden retains a national lead in polling averages, a CNN/UNH survey released Sunday shows Bernie Sanders with a substantial nine-point lead in New Hampshire, the first-in-the-nation primary that the Vermont senator won by over 20 points in 2016.

Behind Sanders, Joe Biden scored 16 percent support, followed by Pete Buttigieg at 15 percent, and Elizabeth Warren at 12 percent; no other candidates broke out of single digits, though Andrew Yang did receive enough support over the weekend to qualify for the February 7 debate held in Manchester. Though the state’s likely voters still have some political soul-searching to do before the February 11 primary — 49 percent of those polled say their vote is still fluid — Sanders supporters are holding steady with their candidate: Of the 31 percent of voters who said they have already decided on a candidate, 37 percent are solidly for the democratic socialist.

Nationally, Sanders is performing quite well: On Wednesday, a CNN poll showed Bernie in the lead with 27 points to Biden’s 24, with crucial support among non-white voters: CNN data also shows Sanders to be up on Biden three percent among voters of color, with 30 percent support compared to Biden’s 27.

Though not as monumental as the CNN poll — Sanders’s first with a national lead this cycle — an ABC/Washington Post survey released Sunday showed Sanders to be competitive with the front-runner nationally:

According to a New York Times/Siena College survey published on Saturday, Sanders is also at the forefront in Iowa:

Sanders’s seven-point lead — beyond the margin of error — among likely Iowa Democrats is made up of his usual coalition: 43 percent of caucusgoers who consider themselves to be “very liberal” express support for Bernie, as do 40 percent of Iowans under 30, double the support of the next closest candidate in that demo. Sanders has also held onto much of his support from the last caucuses, when Hillary Clinton bested Sanders by just .3 percent: Almost half of caucusgoers now supporting Sanders said they caucused for him in 2016.

But as New York’s Ed Kilgore notes, there’s still a lot of variability baked into the system, with 40 percent of caucusgoers saying they could be persuaded to support a different candidate: “It’s among this group of uncertain caucus participants with just over a week to go that the [Des Moines Register endorsement of Elizabeth Warren] might have an impact, or so the Warren campaign will hope.” That uncertainty was magnified by another poll released on Sunday, a CBSNews/YouGov survey showing a statistical tie between Sanders and Biden, at 26 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

The picture will be clarified by the release of Ann Selzer’s gold-standard poll of Iowa on Saturday, February 1, published just two days before the caucuses. The Sanders campaign may find good news in the late poll as well: Selzer’s last edition released on January 10 showed him in the lead with 20 percent of the field, though Warren, Buttigieg, and Biden were all trailing by less than five points.

Polls Show Bernie Sanders Surging at Just the Right Time