After Beating Hillary Clinton By 45 Points In Washington, Bernie Sanders Now Trails Joe Biden By 3 In New Poll

Former Democratic presidential 2020 frontrunner Bernie Sanders received more bad news on Sunday. His campaign struggled to recover from a streak that saw former Vice President Joe Biden turn the tables on the Vermont senator, beating him in 11 of 15 primaries held starting February 29. In one of the six states voting on Tuesday, Sanders trails Biden by three points in Washington state in a Data For Progress poll released on Sunday despite the fact that in 2016, he crushed eventual nominee Hillary Clinton there by more than a 45-point margin.

In a significant difference, however, in 2016, Washington allocated its delegates through a caucus system rather than the primary election the state will employ on Tuesday, March 10. In that caucus, Sanders recorded 73 percent support to just 27 percent for Clinton.

But in Sunday’s Data For Progress poll, Biden led Sanders 47-44. One wild card that may work in Sanders’ favor, however, is that in the poll, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren also received five percent support.

On Friday, Warren announced that she was dropping out of the race for president, leaving open the possibility that her supporters could switch their allegiance to Sanders. But based on the poll results, Sanders would need nearly all of Warren’s supporters in Washington to vote for him in order to catch up to Biden.

Hillary Clinton poses for photos.
Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary race.

The fact that Washington has switched from a caucus to a primary also appears to put Sanders at a disadvantage. Though Washington awarded its delegates based on caucus results in 2016, the state later held a primary election as well, though the results were non-binding. Clinton defeated Sanders in the primary vote, taking about 54 percent, according to The Seattle Times.

In polls taken before the 14 primaries held on Super Tuesday, Data For Progress showed Biden winning seven of those contests. However, when the actual vote results were in, Biden had pulled out 10 victories in the 14 states, including unexpected wins in Texas, Massachusetts, and Maine.

The biggest prize among the six states that vote on March 10, however, is Michigan, where Sanders won a surprise victory over Clinton in 2016. Sanders has campaigned hard in the Wolverine State but still faces what appears to be a neck-and-neck battle with Biden there. Most polls in Michigan have shown Biden leading — but a University of Wisconsin/State Journal poll released on February 20 showed Sanders with a nine-point advantage, according to a report by The Hill.

Missouri also votes on Tuesday, and a poll released on Saturday showed Biden with a 22-point lead there. Idaho, North Dakota, and Mississippi will also cast ballots on March 10, but no recent polling has come out of any of those three states.