Biden tops declared 2020 Dems in New Hampshire poll

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGiuliani meets with former Ukrainian diplomat to get info on Dems Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign DNC boss says candidates to be involved in debate lottery MORE is the top choice for Democratic voters in the early voting state of New Hampshire who were contacted for a poll released Wednesday.

Biden was the top choice for 28 percent of likely Democratic primary voters surveyed in the University of Massachusetts Amherst poll, despite him not having declared a 2020 presidential bid.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign DNC boss says candidates to be involved in debate lottery CEO pay rising twice as fast as worker pay: AP MORE (I-Vt.), who announced his presidential run on Tuesday, followed with support from 20 percent of Democratic voters and Democratic-leaning independents. Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSan Francisco police chief apologizes for raid on journalist's home Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign Senate Democrats to House: Tamp down the impeachment talk MORE (D-Calif.) placed third with support from 14 percent of those likely to vote in the Democratic primary.

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The top reason voters in the poll gave for why they would select a particular candidate was that they perceived the candidate would have the best chance of defeating President TrumpDonald John TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit MORE.

About 33 percent of respondents listed this as the most important criteria, followed by "honesty and trustworthiness" (22 percent) and "Best represents my views on the issues" (20 percent).

The New Hampshire primary will be one of the first contests in the 2020 election and often helps to set the course for later primaries. 

Sources have told The Hill that Biden is almost certain to enter the crowded Democratic primary field for a chance to take on Trump in 2020, though he has not declared a bid.

The former vice president slammed Trump's immigration policies during a speech at the University of Pennsylvania on Tuesday, accusing him of "xenophobia."

The survey of 337 likely Democratic voters in New Hampshire was conducted Feb. 7-15 and has a margin of error of 6.4 percentage points.