Former Vice President Joe Biden is leading 2020 Democratic presidential contenders in Nevada as he is in other states, but it is Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and not Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders who is in second place in the Silver State, according to a new poll released by Monmouth University on Wednesday.
The poll found that Biden holds 36 percent support with registered Democrats and unaffiliated voters likely to attend the Nevada Democratic caucus in February, with Warren at 19 percent support and Sanders at 13 percent. Other top candidates include South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, with 7 percent support, and California Sen. Kamala Harris, at 6 percent.
Warren’s significant support in Nevada represents a clear break from her standing nationally and in other early nominating states, including Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, with polls tending to show Sanders in second place and Warren a distant third, fourth or fifth. Warren was one of the earliest Democratic presidential contenders to visit Nevada this year and also made some of the earliest hires.
The last Nevada numbers from Morning Consult released in May showed Biden at 38 percent support, Sanders at 25 percent, and Warren, Harris and Buttigieg all at 8 percent each.
Three other candidates secured 2 percent support in the Monmouth poll — New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke and entrepreneur Andrew Yang — while another four crested 1 percent, including former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and self-help author Marianne Williamson. Twelve more candidates surveyed earned less than 1 percent or had no support among poll respondents.
The poll was conducted by telephone from June 6 to 11 and surveyed 370 Nevada voters likely to attend Nevada’s Democratic caucus, with a margin of error of 5.1 percentage points. The survey is Monmouth University’s first in Nevada of the 2020 cycle. The university holds an A+ rating from FiveThirtyEight for polling.
The survey found Biden holds the most support among self-described moderate or conservative voters — 47 percent of that group supports the former vice president, compared to 11 percent for Warren and 9 percent for Sanders. He has a somewhat narrower margin of support among voters who describe themselves as somewhat liberal, with 31 percent of that group backing Biden to Warren’s 24 percent and Buttigieg’s 12 percent.
Warren and Sanders are neck-and-neck with very liberal voters, with 27 percent and 26 percent support, respectively. Biden received only 19 percent from such voters, who make up about a quarter of likely caucusgoers, in the poll.
The poll found that several candidates — including Warren, Harris, Booker and Castro — have significantly higher favorability ratings in Nevada than they do in other states Monmouth has polled. For instance, Warren has a net positive 59 percentage point rating in Nevada, compared to only a 39 percent net positive in New Hampshire, 47 percent net positive in Iowa and 46 percent net positive nationally. Harris had a similarly strong favorability rating in Nevada, with 58 percent net positive.
Other well-known candidates had smaller net positive ratings: 52 percent for Booker, 48 percent for Buttigieg, 45 percent for Sanders, 38 percent for O’Rourke, 33 percent for Klobuchar, and 22 percent for New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had a net negative rating of 8 percentage points in the poll.
Still, Biden holds the highest net positive rating of any candidate in Nevada, with 78 percent viewing him favorably and 13 percent unfavorably, for a net positive of 65 percentage points.
The poll also found that the race is closer among likely Latino voters, with 27 percent backing Biden, 19 percent supporting Sanders and 11 percent favoring Warren, though those numbers come from a smaller subset of poll respondents and have a higher 7 to 10 percentage point margin of error. Twenty percent of Latino voters noted having no candidate preference at this point.
Among non-Hispanic white voters, Biden has 37 percent support to Warren’s 23 percent, with Sanders at 13 percent, Buttigieg at 10 percent and Harris at 5 percent. Other poll respondents, the majority of whom are African American, reported 42 percent for Biden, 14 percent for Harris, 12 percent for Warren and 6 percent for Sanders.
The poll also looked at differences between first-time caucusgoers and those who have attended caucuses in the past. First-time participants tended to favor Biden (48 percent), with 16 percent backing Sanders, 6 percent supporting Buttigieg and 4 percent each favoring Warren and Harris. The margins were closer among those who have attended caucuses previously, with 33 percent backing Biden, 23 percent supporting Warren, 12 percent favoring Sanders and 7 percent each for Harris and Buttigieg.
The survey found that health care continues to be a top concern for Democrats in the Silver State, as it is in other states, with 41 percent identifying it as their primary concern. Other concerns include the environment (17 percent for climate change and 7 percent for the environment in general), immigration (19 percent), jobs (17 percent), reproductive rights (15 percent) and defeating President Donald Trump (14 percent.)
Immigration was more of a concern to Nevada Democrats than it was to Democrats in other states surveyed by Monmouth. Only 9 percent in New Hampshire and 14 percent in Iowa identified it as a top issue.