After winning the popular vote in the controversial Iowa caucuses plagued by multiple scandals, Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont won the 2020 New Hampshire Democratic primary. He is now surging in both national and state polls, solidifying his front-runner position.
Sanders has surged in the Lone Star State as well, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll. The senator has doubled his support since October, jumping from 12 to 24 percent. He now leads the field with a two-point advantage over former Vice President Joe Biden, who is polling at 22 percent.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is at a distant third place, with 15 percent of the vote, down three points since October. Billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg came in fourth with 10 percent. Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is in fifth with 7 percent.
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang — who dropped out of the race after failing to win delegates in Iowa and New Hampshire — is polling at 6 percent. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and billionaire Tom Steyer are both at 3 percent, ahead of Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard at 2 percent.
As Joshua Blank, research director for the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin, explained, Biden’s numbers have been static, Sanders is surging, and Bloomberg appears to be rising because of his aggressive and expensive advertisement tactics.
“Most of the movement has been Sanders and Bloomberg, with Biden [holding] still. To be unable to increase his vote share is pretty telling for Biden,” Blank said.
(Conducted Jan 31-Feb 9)
— Political Polls (@PpollingNumbers) February 14, 2020
According to James Henson, co-director of the poll and head of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin, Biden appears to be unable to increase the support he initially had due to name recognition.
“It’s not so much that Biden has collapsed as that he has been exposed. He had superior name recognition in a crowded field. The question was whether he would build on that,” he stated.
When it comes to hypothetical head-to-head matchups against President Donald Trump, Sanders does better than any Democratic White House hopeful. According to the poll, Trump is beating Sanders by 2 percentage points.
The president, meanwhile, would beat Biden by four and Warren by three points. He would beat Bloomberg, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar by five percentage points, the poll added.
According to Daron Shaw, a government professor at the University of Texas at Austin, Trump is under-performing.
“The Trump trial ballots confirm what we’ve seen, that Trump is winning, but he clearly is under-performing, given the party profile in the state,” he said.