A new NPR/PBS News Hour/Marist poll released on Tuesday showed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders surge in popularity — although he wasn’t the only one to make significant gains. Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg also received a groundswell of support from this newest poll, qualifying him for Wednesday’s Democratic primary debate.
The survey — which detailed Democratic voters’ preference for president — showed Sanders overtaking former Vice President Joe Biden for the lead. The Vermont lawmaker got 31 percent support, marking the first time any Democratic presidential nominee has broken 30 percent in a national poll, per NPR. In the previous NPR/PBS News Hour/Marist poll taken in December 2019, Sanders only had 22 percent support, while the former vice president had slightly edged him out with 24 percent.
This new result not only shows the senator as the first nominee to break 30 percent, but it also shows him surging ahead of the other candidates in the field. The most recent poll puts Sanders 12 points above the next competitor in the field — although the identity of who reached second place may be shocking to some.
While Biden’s poor showing in the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries have seemingly curtailed his national popularity — he dropped to third place, only reaching 15 percent — an unexpected late entrant into the primary has seemingly gained significant popularity. Bloomberg reached 19 percent — the fourth over 10 percent support he has received in a national poll — which qualifies him for Wednesday’s Democratic primary debate set to take place in Nevada. The former mayor’s success is a massive jump from his polling numbers in December when he only managed to get 4 percent support.
Nevada’s debate will be the first time Bloomberg will be on a national stage to face off against his fellow primary candidates. As NPR reports, he did not qualify for the previous debates because he did not meet the donor threshold, due to not taking outside contributions to fund his campaign. However, new rules from the Democratic Party have relaxed the donor qualification, allowing Bloomberg to join the stage in Nevada, and — if he qualifies — in South Carolina.
As The New York Times reports, attacks against Bloomberg have increased since his campaign started gaining traction, attracting attention from most candidates and pundits. The former mayor has reportedly spent more than $300 million on TV ads throughout the U.S., leading to accusations that he is trying to buy the election.
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Retiree and independent voter William Day holds up his homemade sign at a Michael Bloomberg speech to an early morning, packed coffee house crowd in Winston-Salem. Bloomberg is skipping early states and instead focusing on the 14 that vote on Super Tuesday, March 3. ????: @dongonyea
The other candidates who have qualified for the debate are Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who received 12 percent support in the newest survey, a decrease of five points since December; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who gained five points since December to reach 9 percent approval; and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who — despite leading in delegates at the moment — only earned 8 percent support, a four-point drop from December. Although Klobuchar and Buttigieg did not meet the 10 percent polling requirement to qualify, they each received at least one delegate from New Hampshire and/or Iowa’s primaries, which automatically allows them to be on the debate stage.
After Biden’s poor showing in the first two primaries and his fall in the polls, some supporters may be worried about his chances to secure the nomination. All is not lost, however. In a head-to-head competition with President Donald Trump, Biden still performs best out of the top six potential Democratic candidates, leading them by six points. He is also the only candidate to reach over 50 percent support against Trump.