Since officially entering the race, former vice president Joe Biden has topped virtually every single poll, maintaining a double-digit lead over the rest of the crowded primary field, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polling data.
Other candidates’ numbers have fluctuated, however, with Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris chasing second place.
A new Gallup poll published on Friday paints a different picture, and places Sanders ahead of the pack.
Conducted shortly after the first round of Democratic debates, the poll shows that Sanders has the highest favorability rating of all Democrats running for president among the party’s base. Seventy-two percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents hold a favorable view of the Vermont senator, and only 17 percent view him unfavorably.
Closely trailing Sanders is Joe Biden, who is viewed favorably by 69 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. Like Sanders, Biden is disliked by 17 percent of them.
However, Biden’s favorability rating has dropped quite significantly since February — in February, Biden was viewed favorably by 80 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents.
What explains this drop in favorability when it comes to the former vice president, according to Gallup, is the fact that he is perceived to be the frontrunner, which has opened him up to attacks from other candidates.
“Biden remains among the best-liked candidates for Democrats and Democratic leaners, but friction between him and some of the other Democratic candidates may explain why his rating among Democrats has dipped since February.”
“Biden’s continued front-runner status in most horse-race polls may also be making him more of a target for members of both parties who are supporting other candidates for president,” Gallup added.
Other contenders appear to have left the party’s base relatively ambivalent so far. Elizabeth Warren is viewed favorably by 59 percent of of respondents, and 29 percent of them have no opinion. Thirty-four percent have no opinion about Kamala Harris, and 54 percent view the California senator favorably.
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Cory Booker and Pete Buttigieg have favorable ratings in the mid-40s. Roughly four out of 10 respondents have no opinion about Booker, and 47 percent have no opinion about Buttigieg.
Beto O’Rourke, Julian Castro, Amy Klobuchar, and Bill de Blasio have favorable ratings in the 30s.
The percentage of “no opinion” responses is likely to drop as the pace of the debates accelerates, per Gallup, since voters will start to form opinions about less popular candidates.
Both Biden and Sanders have a higher favorability rating among Americans (Democrats, Republicans, independents) than President Donald Trump.
A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll suggests that Biden, Sanders, and Warren would all beat Trump in 2020.