According to the latest Emerson College/8 News Now Poll of Nevada Democratic Caucus voters released on Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is poised to win the race, but two candidates are in a near-dead heat for second place.
With 30 percent support, Sanders is the absolute favorite, with a 13-point advantage over former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is polling at 17 percent. Breathing down Buttigieg's neck is former Vice President Joe Biden at 16 percent.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts -- praised for delivering a strong debate performance earlier this week -- is in fourth place with 12 percentage points. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota -- who exceeded expectations in New Hampshire, finishing third -- is polling at 11 percent. Billionaire Tom Steyer is at 10 percent.
Since the last Emerson College poll of Nevada in early November, former front-runner Biden is down 14 points. Warren, who was considered one of the leading candidates for months, is down 10 points. Klobuchar gained 10 points and Steyer gained 7 points. Sanders and Buttigieg surged by 11 and 12 points respectively.
Sanders' greatest advantage appears to be the popularity he enjoys among non-white voters and younger voters. Among those under 50-years-old, the Vermont senator is polling at 50 percent. He is also leading the field among non-whites, with 34 percent support.
Sanders also leads among white voters, but with a much smaller margin. He enjoys the support of 28 percent white Nevadans. Warren is in second place with 18 percent, Buttigieg in third with 17 percent and Biden in fourth with 14 percent.
The Vermont independent is not nearly as popular among older voters, however. Among those older than 50, Biden leads the field with 24 percent, while Buttigieg is at 22 percent. Sanders is in third place with 16 percent, Warren in fourth with 14 percent, and Klobuchar is polling at 12 percent.
There appears to be some fluidity in the race, with 37 percent of respondents saying they could change their mind and vote for someone other than their chosen candidate. Meanwhile, 78 percent of Biden supporters say they will definitely vote for him. Warren and Sanders are tied for second in this category, with 72 percent of their backers committed to their choices.Seventy-five percent of Klobuchar's supporters say they could change their mind, as do 56 percent of Buttigieg's backers. Fifty-three percent of Steyer's supporters are open to switching to a different candidate.
As the Financial Times noted, thousands of Nevadans have already cast their ballots, having been granted four days of early voting. In fact, more than 75,000 people have voted ahead of Saturday's caucus, indicating a record-breaking turnout. In comparison, the total turnout in 2016 was 84,000 voters.