A new national poll suggests Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) is not only in first place in the 2020 Democratic primary, but is beginning to pull away from his competition.
The latest Emerson poll, which was released Monday morning, has Sanders leading 19 other candidates with 29% support, and ahead of former Vice President Joe Biden — who ranked second in Emerson’s latest national poll — by five points. South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg clearly benefited from multiple weeks of favorable media coverage, climbing to third place with 9% support.
Monday’s results suggest Sanders is growing in popularity compared to Emerson’s previous national poll, which was released in mid-March. The March poll had Sanders tied with Biden, with both candidates earning 26% support. Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) dropped from 12% support in March to 8% in April, and former Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) dropped from 11% to 8%.
While Biden’s confidants believed the former Delaware senator and ex-vice president would declare his campaign in early April, Biden still remains a prospective candidate. This is likely due to multiple reports of women coming forward with experiences about how Biden acted inappropriately towards them, beginning with Lucy Flores, who shared her experience about Biden smelling her hair and kissing her head in 2014 as she was running a campaign to be Nevada’s lieutenant governor.
However, Sanders’ surge could also be due to his ability to consistently draw out thousands of supporters in campaign rallies across the country. On Friday, Sanders spoke at James Madison Park in Madison, Wisconsin, where nearly 2,500 people attended despite temperatures between just 36 and 44 degrees Fahrenheit. His first official campaign rally in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York brought out 13,000 people, and a Chicago, Illinois rally in early March attracted more than 12,000 supporters. Sanders also recently received his millionth campaign donation after just two months of campaigning — something that took his 2016 campaign five months to achieve.
Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.