Biden tops declared 2020 Dems in New Hampshire poll

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSome Sanders top allies have urged him to withdraw from 2020 race: report Sunday shows preview: As coronavirus spreads in the U.S., officials from each sector of public life weigh in Trump defends firing of intel watchdog, calling him a 'disgrace' 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 SandersSome Sanders top allies have urged him to withdraw from 2020 race: report We're at war and need wartime institutions to keep our economy producing what's necessary Larry David: Bernie Sanders should drop out of 2020 race 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 HarrisEnlisting tech to fight coronavirus sparks surveillance fears Biden says his administration could help grow 'bench' for Democrats Is Texas learning to love ObamaCare? 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 TrumpPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor NBA to contribute 1 million surgical masks to NY essential workers Private equity firm with ties to Kushner asks Trump administration to relax rules on loan program: report 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.