Bernie Sanders Tops U.S. Poll; Bloomberg Overtakes Warren in Third Spot

Ryan Teague Beckwith

(Bloomberg) -- The Democratic presidential race took on a new shape a day before the New Hampshire primary, as a national poll showed Bernie Sanders overtaking Joe Biden in first place and Michael Bloomberg surging to third place on a wave of advertising.

In the first national survey since the Iowa caucuses ended with Sanders and Pete Buttigieg vying for the top spot, the Vermont senator had 25% support, topping the Quinnipiac University poll for the first time. He was followed by Biden at 17% and the former New York City mayor at 15%, according to the poll released on Monday.

Sanders is also leading in New Hampshire polls ahead of the state’s primary on Tuesday.

Bloomberg’s surge comes after his campaign spent more than $300 million on advertising around the country, including in expensive media markets in states like California and Texas that vote in the March 3 Super Tuesday nominating contests.

His strong showing gives him two of the four qualifying polls he would need to participate in the Las Vegas Democratic debate on Feb. 19. Candidates need to show 10% in four qualifying national polls or 12% in two polls taken in Nevada or South Carolina by Feb. 18. Bloomberg, who entered the race in late November, scored 10% in a Fox News national poll in January.

(Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

Biden’s support has plummeted since the previous Quinnipiac poll on Jan. 28, when he held the lead at 26%. In that poll, Sanders was second with 21% and Bloomberg had 8%.

Notably, Monday’s poll showed Biden’s support cratering among black voters, from 49% on Jan. 28 to 27% in the latest poll, a drop of 22 percentage points. Biden has been counting on support from African American voters and has staked his candidacy on doing well in South Carolina, where about 60% of Democratic voters are black.

Bloomberg appeared to be the biggest beneficiary of Biden’s fall, jumping 15 percentage points among black voters, from 7% to 22% over the same time period. None of the other candidates saw their numbers with African Americans change dramatically.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren came in fourth in the February poll with 14%, followed by Buttigieg at 10%.

The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, emerged from the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses with the most delegates and has seen his numbers rise in New Hampshire before that state votes Tuesday, but this poll doesn’t show that support spreading nationally.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar came in at 4%. No other candidate had more than 2%.

Quinnipiac analyst Tim Malloy said Biden’s slide in the poll appears to be correlated with a similar slide in a poll question on the ability to win.

“Clearly Biden’s fourth-place finish in Iowa has hurt the perception of what was his biggest strength -- electability,” he said.

The survey of 665 Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters nationwide was conducted Feb. 5-9 and has a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points.

(Adds falling black support for Biden in fourth paragraph)

To contact the reporter on this story: Ryan Teague Beckwith in Manchester, New Hampshire at rbeckwith3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Max Berley, Magan Crane

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