Biden tops declared 2020 Dems in New Hampshire poll

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenCourt nixes offshore drilling leases auctioned by Biden administration Laquan McDonald's family pushes for federal charges against officer ahead of early release Biden speaks with Ukrainian president amid Russian threat 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 SandersMcConnell warns Biden not to 'outsource' Supreme Court pick to 'radical left' Briahna Joy Gray discusses Pelosi's 2022 re-election announcement Ocasio-Cortez: Supporting Sinema challenge by someone like Gallego would be easy decision 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 HarrisHarris discusses pandemic, migration during visit with new Honduran president Biden has done just three local interviews in first year in office Clyburn predicts Supreme Court contender J. Michelle Childs would get GOP votes 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 TrumpMark Walker to stay in North Carolina Senate race Judge lays out schedule for Eastman to speed up records processing for Jan. 6 panel Michael Avenatti cross-examines Stormy Daniels in his own fraud trial 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.