Warren pulls closer to Sanders in progressive straw poll

By David Siders

Elizabeth Warren has cut sharply into Bernie Sanders’ front-runner standing among members of the progressive political action committee Democracy for America, according to the group’s latest straw poll, while Kamala Harris vaulted ahead of Joe Biden into third place.

Pete Buttigieg, the South Bend, Ind., mayor who was previously running third among the group’s progressive activists, plunged to sixth place at about 4 percent in the poll, which was released Monday and obtained first by POLITICO.

No candidate other than Sanders, Warren and Harris broke single digits in the survey.

The survey is less consequential as a measure of public opinion than as an indicator of activist support — and of shifting allegiances on the Democratic Party’s left flank.

Democracy for America, which boasts more than 1 million members, helped organize an unsuccessful effort to draft Warren into the presidential race in 2016, then was instrumental in Sanders’ primary campaign that year.

Sanders led Warren by more than 30 percentage points in the group’s previous survey in April, but the independent senator from Vermont saw his edge over Warren fall to just more than 6 percentage points in the latest survey.

The rest of the field remained far behind Sanders, at 32 percent, and Warren, at 26 percent. Harris was running at 12 percent in the DFA poll, followed by Joe Biden at about 10 percent and Andrew Yang at about 7 percent.

“The last three months have transformed the 2020 Democratic race for president and these results make it clear that Democracy for America members’ support is solidifying behind three candidates committed to bold, inclusive populism and structural reform,” Charles Chamberlain, DFA’s chairman, said in a prepared statement. “Going into the second debate, there's little doubt that Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris have momentum building behind them. As Bernie Sanders continues in his position as the progressive front-runner, we’re very interested to see if he uses this debate and the all-important month of August to build up from his robust base of support or cedes ground to the rising challenges of Senators Warren and Harris."

The online poll opened immediately after the June 27th presidential debate and ran through July 17th. DFA, founded by Howard Dean following his run for president in 2004, said members cast 74,052 votes in the poll.

DFA is expected to run additional straw polls before any endorsement. When asked about top issues of concern, the Green New Deal and Medicare for All topped DFA members’ lists of concern by a wide margin.