In April of 2017, less than a year after he lost the 2016 Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton, and just there months after the inauguration of Donald Trump, a survey conducted by The Harvard Harris Poll showed that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was the “most popular active politician” in the United States — with 57 percent of Americans saying that they thought favorably of the now-77-year-old independent, self-described “Democratic Socialist.”
But slightly more than two years later, with the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination now well underway, Sanders finds himself in an entirely different position. A new poll released this week by the same Harvard/Harris research firm shows that former Vice President Joe Biden has surged ahead of Sanders in the campaign for the nomination.
In fact, according to the poll, Biden is leaving Sanders — and the rest of the Democratic field — in his dust and threatening to make the Democratic primary, which has already attracted a record 22 candidates, as listed by Ballotpedia, into a one-person race. According to the poll, the 76-year-old Biden leads Sanders by a massive 30 percentage points, with 44 percent of Democratic voters supporting him. Sanders sits in second place at just 14 percent.
Biden and Sanders are the only candidates in double figures in the poll. California Senator Kamala Harris comes in third at 9 percent, followed by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren at 5 percent.
While the Harvard/Harris poll shows the biggest lead and highest number for Biden in any poll so far, an overview of all recent Democratic primary polls compiled by FiveThirtyEight shows more problems for Sanders, because his poll numbers appear to have flatlined.
As The Inquisitr reported, a Quinnipiac University poll released earlier this week had Sanders slumping into third place, with Warren surging past him after she called for the impeachment of Trump following release of the Mueller Report.
In that Quinnipiac poll, Biden also held an intimidating lead, beating Warren by 26 percentage points, 38-12, with Sanders one point behind Warren.
Since Biden made his long-anticipated candidacy for the nomination official on April 25, six polls by four different polling organizations have been made public. In the five most recent polls, Sanders has stalled, wavering between 17 percent and 14 percent support. The last time Sanders broke the 20 percent mark came in a Morning Consult poll released on April 29, which placed him at 22 percent — still 14 points behind Biden, who registered 36 percent in that poll.
But Sanders has been losing momentum for at least the past two months, according to polling expert Harry Enten of CNN, who noted that in CNN polls, Biden had plummet from a 59 percent approval rating at the end of his 2016 presidential campaign, to just 46 percent by the end of March, 2019.