Former Vice President Joe Biden leads Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) in a new national survey of Democrats.
A Monmouth University poll released Tuesday finds Biden with 27 percent support, followed by Sanders at 20 percent. No other candidate pulls double-digit support in the poll.
Biden is expected to officially join the presidential race this week.
“If Biden does enter the race this week, he starts off with a fairly stable amount of good will from Democrats,” said Monmouth pollster Patrick Murray. “We might even expect to see a small bump after his announcement, but the bigger question will be what happens when those voters start taking a closer look at him on the campaign trail. It’s a long way to Iowa and a lot can happen.”
South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) are tied for third place at 8 percent. Buttigieg was at 1 percent support in the same poll from March. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) is at 6 percent support, followed by former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (Texas) at 4 percent.
The number of Democrats who say they have not decided on a candidate yet has gone up from 8 percent in March to 14 percent in April.
“You cannot deny that Buttigieg is experiencing a real moment right now, but it’s important to remember there is a lot of fluidity in this field,” said Murray. “Voters are not only moving from candidate to candidate but also from candidate to undecided. Right now, the top tier is determined largely by who has a high national profile. This may not gel with how the contest will play out in the early states.”
Biden’s favorability rating is still the best in the field, but it has fallen some over the past month as he’s dealt with allegations from women who said he made them uncomfortable by touching them at public events.
The former vice president’s favorability rating is at 72 percent positive and 16 negative, down from 76 positive and 13 negative last month. Sanders comes in at 65 percent favorable and 21 percent unfavorable.
With Biden and Sanders leading the early polls, some Democrats are debating whether it’s right for the party to nominate a white man. Democrats are running the most diverse field of candidates ever and there is frustration in some quarters that women and candidates of color are not getting more attention.
However, the Monmouth poll found that Democratic voters are largely ignoring race and gender in determining who is the best candidate to go up against President Trump.
Eighty-seven percent said race is not an important factor in their decision, while 77 percent said gender does not matter.
“This is the most diverse field of presidential candidates in history, but that doesn’t seem to be a major consideration for Democratic voters at this early stage of the campaign,” said Murray. “It’s probably a large reason why a couple of old white guys are leading the pack right now.”
The Monmouth University survey of 330 registered Democrats was conducted between April 11 and April 15 and has a 5.4 percentage point margin of error.