Sanders' support drops as Harris, Warren rise in new national poll

Former Vice President Joe Biden maintains his front-runner status, but a new national survey in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination indicates a drop in support for Sen. Bernie Sanders and a rise by Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

According to a Monmouth University public opinion survey released Thursday, 33 percent of Democrats or independents who lean toward the Democratic Party say they support Biden, up from 27 percent in Monmouth’s April poll.


Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont who’s making his second straight White House bid, registers at 15 percent support, down 5 percentage points from a month ago and a drop of 10 points from Monmouth’s March poll, when the senator stood at 25 percent.

The new poll differs from a Quinnipiac University survey released a day earlier, which suggested Sanders on the rise.

Harris, the former California attorney general, is in third place in the survey at 11 percent, up slightly from 8 percent in April. Warren, the populist senator who’s put out one progressive policy proposal after another, stands at 10 percent, up 4 points from a month ago.

Two other national surveys released in the past week, from Fox News and Quinnipiac University, also indicated Warren’s poll numbers on the rise. The Monmouth poll also suggested a slight collective rise in support for the other female candidates: Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, and best-selling spiritual author Marianne Williamson.

“Women are commanding a larger slice of Democratic support than they were a few weeks ago and we are seeing bumps in their individual voter ratings. We can’t parse out the exact reasons from this one poll, but recent efforts by certain states to restrict access to abortion services may be playing a role in the closer look these candidates are getting right now,” Monmouth University Polling Institute director Patrick Murray said.

The survey also indicated a rise in favorable ratings for Warren, Harris and Klobuchar.

South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, a one-time long-shot who’s surged this spring, stands at 6 percent in the survey, down 2 points from last month. The Monmouth survey follows this week’s Quinnipiac poll in suggesting a slight edging down of Buttigieg’s support since April.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas stands at 4 percent in the poll, with Klobuchar at 3 percent. Everyone else in the historically enormous field of two-dozen candidates registered at 1 percent or less.

This latest survey comes with more than eight months to go until the first votes are cast in the presidential primary and caucus calendar.

“One thing we need to remember is that huge pockets of Democratic voters, particularly moderates, have yet to tune in to the campaign,” Murray emphasized.

The Monmouth University poll was conducted May 16-20, with 802 adults questioned by live telephone operators. The survey included 334 registered voters who identified as Democrats or independents who lean towards the Democratic Party. The sampling error for Democratic primary questions was plus or minus 5.4 percentage points.