2020年1月31日 星期五

On Politics Poll Watch: The Rise of Sanders

Three days before the Iowa caucuses, Bernie Sanders has tied Joe Biden in our Iowa polling average.

Welcome to Poll Watch from On Politics. Every Friday, we’ll bring you the latest data and analysis to track the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Current state of the race

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Who’s up? Who’s down? Here’s the latest.

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By Alexander Burns

National Political Correspondent

The story of the race right now, in Iowa and nationally, is the rise of Bernie Sanders. In our polling average at the national and state levels, Mr. Sanders appears to have gained substantial ground in recent weeks, overtaking Joe Biden in Iowa, nipping at his national lead and raising huge sums of money online to power his insurgent candidacy. Should Mr. Sanders win the Iowa caucuses on Monday, it could be a major turning point in the race and the most serious test yet of Mr. Biden’s political tenacity.

A Sanders victory in Iowa is no foregone conclusion. Mr. Biden continues to hold a solid base of support, particularly among older voters; in some Iowa polls he still has an edge over Mr. Sanders. And beyond the earliest, whitest states on the primary calendar, Mr. Biden is still the clear favorite among African-American voters, who are often a decisive force in Democratic primaries.

But Mr. Biden’s strength at the national level is also built on the perception — among voters and political donors — that he has the best chance against President Trump in the general election. Losing to Mr. Sanders in one or more of the early states could shake that perception and make it harder to replenish his campaign’s bank account.

Most polls in Iowa show a close race, between not just Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders but also Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg. Both Ms. Warren and Mr. Buttigieg have fallen in the Iowa polls since the fall, and Mr. Buttigieg has taken an abrupt dip over the last month. But the Iowa caucuses also tend to reward candidates with strong field organizations, and both Ms. Warren and Mr. Buttigieg are seen as having some of the most sophisticated turnout machinery in the state. With both of them polling in the mid-teens, either could be in a position to outperform those numbers.

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There are two other trends worth noting: First, Amy Klobuchar has finally shown real upward movement in Iowa. Her gains have been slow and perhaps too gradual to produce the upset she needs, but her movement is real enough to raise the hopes of her supporters.

And second, Michael Bloomberg has overtaken Mr. Buttigieg in national polls, if only by one percentage point. It is the first time Mr. Bloomberg has been the fourth-place candidate in our polling average, a notable marker as he awaits the chance to exploit any early stumbles by Mr. Biden.

See our updated polling page with charts of national and Iowa polling averages over time.

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Sanders’s surge owes a lot to voters of color

Senator Bernie Sanders greeting voters after an event in Newton, Iowa, this month. He is polling well among Latino voters, in particular, this election cycle. Jordan Gale for The New York Times

Throughout the 2016 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, one of Senator Bernie Sanders’s greatest weaknesses was his inability to win broad support from voters of color.

This year, he has sought to avoid the same outcome, hiring a more diverse staff and seeking to complement his focus on economic inequality with frank conversations about racial justice.

And with Mr. Sanders surging days before voting begins with the Iowa caucuses, an intriguing theme has emerged: Much of his momentum, polling shows, owes to the support of nonwhite voters — particularly African-American and Hispanic Democrats.

Most surveys of California voters over all now have him in a virtual tie or with an outright lead — and his support among Hispanic voters is foundational to that. In a survey conducted for The Los Angeles Times by the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, he had the support of 38 percent of Hispanic voters, including 41 percent of those living in households where Spanish was the dominant language.

In Texas, exit polls in 2016 found that Mr. Sanders, Vermont’s junior senator, had lost the Latino vote to Hillary Clinton by a two-to-one margin. He now enjoys a commanding lead among Hispanic primary voters there, according to a Texas Lyceum survey released this week. That helped propel him to a statistical tie in the poll with Mr. Biden, who until recently had seemed to enjoy a comfortable lead in Texas.

Part of Mr. Sanders’s strength among Latinos can be chalked up to the fact that the Hispanic population in the United States skews younger than the rest of the country — and Mr. Sanders continues to draw by far his strongest support from voters under 50.

“Our population is so young that most of the people are in the 40-and-under category,” Matt Barreto, a founder of the polling firm Latino Decisions, said in an interview. “So in the aggregate he is doing really well” among Hispanic voters.

But Mr. Sanders now runs a strong second to Mr. Biden among Latinos over 50, pulling 21 percent of their support, according to a Pew survey released on Thursday. All of the other Democratic candidates poll in the single digits with this group.

“He’s brought a number of high-level staff onto his campaign and he has people in senior leadership positions, and they are pushing the campaign to engage more in Latino outreach,” Mr. Barreto said. “That is paying off.”

It’s not just happening in Texas and California, and Latinos are not the only voters of color supporting Mr. Sanders to a significant degree. A national CNN poll released last week found Mr. Sanders pulling 30 percent of all nonwhite voters to Mr. Biden’s 27 percent.

A Monmouth University poll last week and the Pew survey were a little less kind to him than CNN’s poll, but those two still found him trailing Mr. Biden by just eight points among Democratic voters of color nationwide. (Monmouth polled those likely to vote in a primary or caucus, while Pew looked at all registered voters.)

Among black and Latino voters, Mr. Sanders’s ideologically driven approach may find a particular resonance. The Pew survey found that by two to one, white Democrats were more likely to say they preferred a candidate who would compromise with Republicans if needed than to want one who insisted on Democratic policy positions.

Black Democrats are considerably less likely to feel this way. And Hispanic Democrats are even more open to an ideological purist.

In the CNN survey, nonwhite voters were in fact more likely to say they would be enthusiastic or at least satisfied with Mr. Sanders as their nominee (82 percent) than to say the same of Mr. Biden (74 percent).

Steve Phillips, the founder of Democracy in Color, an advocacy group focused on race and politics, said Mr. Sanders had room to grow with voters of color. But, Mr. Phillips emphasized, he will need to earn it.

“He’s closer to the mark than others are in terms of expanding the electorate and bringing new voters in,” Mr. Phillips said, referring to Mr. Sanders’s efforts to engage first-time voters, a cornerstone of his campaign. “He still could do more.”

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