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Michelle Obama would be tied with Biden as frontrunner if she ran in 2020, poll shows

Former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaBiden, Obamas and celebrity guests announce coronavirus vaccination TV special Obamas describe meeting Prince Philip in statement mourning his death Overnight Defense: Trump-era land mine policy unchanged amid review | Biden spending outline coming Friday | First lady sets priorities for relaunched military families initiative MORE tied with former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenIRS to roll out payments for ,000 child tax credit in July Capitol Police told not to use most aggressive tactics in riot response, report finds Biden to accompany first lady to appointment for 'common medical procedure' MORE as the top choice among Democratic voters when asked who should be the party's nominee in 2020.

A Hill-HarrisX poll released Tuesday found that 25 percent of Democrats said they would back Obama in the party primary over nine other declared or potential candidates, including Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden sparks bipartisan backlash on Afghanistan withdrawal  Why does Bernie Sanders want to quash Elon Musk's dreams? Congress can protect sacred Oak Flat in Arizona from mining project MORE (I-Vt.), Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisCongressional Black Caucus members post selfie celebrating first WH visit in four years Harris: Daunte Wright 'should be alive today' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - Biden, lawmakers start down a road with infrastructure MORE (D-Calif.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenForgiving K in school loans would free 36 million student borrowers from debt: data IRS chief warns of unpaid taxes hitting trillion Biden sparks bipartisan backlash on Afghanistan withdrawal  MORE (D-Mass.), and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas).

Obama has said she is not running, and Biden has not announced whether he will launch another White House bid.

Harris came in third among Democratic voters, with 12 percent saying they would support her. Sanders was a close fourth, at 11 percent. O’Rourke, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Warren, and Sens. Cory BookerCory BookerCongressional Black Caucus members post selfie celebrating first WH visit in four years Black lawmakers press Biden on agenda at White House meeting The first Southern state legalizes marijuana — what it means nationally MORE (D-N.J.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: Biden nominates former NSA deputy director to serve as cyber czar | Apple to send witness to Senate hearing after all | Biden pressed on semiconductor production amid shortage Apple to send witness to Senate hearing after pushback from Klobuchar, Lee Lobbying world MORE (D-Minn.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownBusinessman Mike Gibbons jumps into GOP Senate race in Ohio A bold fix for US international taxation of corporations Democrats offer competing tax ideas on Biden infrastructure MORE (D-Ohio) all failed to exceed 6 percent.

Biden and Obama garnered 23 percent and 22 percent, respectively, when factoring in independent voters, who are allowed to vote in many state primary elections.

When combining Democratic and independent voters, Sanders received 12 percent, followed by 8 percent for Harris.

Molly Murphy, a partner at Democratic consulting firm ALG Research, said Obama's popularity is helped in large part because she has never thrown her hat into the ring.

"Because she's never been a candidate, she's never been on the ballot, she's avoided a certain degree of scrutiny that candidates face. And so she's all icing for people, it's all good," Murphy said Tuesday on "What America's Thinking," Hill.TV's show about public opinion and polling.

In the Hill-HarrisX poll, 12 percent of independents and Democrats combined said they preferred another candidate, beyond the choices that were offered, suggesting some dissatisfaction among non-Republican voters with the field of declared and potential candidates.

A November Hill-HarrisX poll found that 14 percent of Democratic respondents picked "none of the above" when asked to choose between Warren, Biden, Sanders, Booker, Harris, Bloomberg and former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhy does Bernie Sanders want to quash Elon Musk's dreams? Republican legislators target private sector election grants How Democrats can defy the odds in 2022 MORE.

Obama's surprise appearance at the Grammy awards this month promoted some speculation about a possible 2020 bid. In December, the former first lady said that she had "never" considered a political career and that she had no intention of running for office.

The Hill-HarrisX survey was conducted Feb. 17-18 among a nationally representative sample of registered voters. The overall survey has a sampling margin of error of 3 percentage points.

The group of Democratic respondents has a sampling margin of error of 5 percentage points, and the Democratic and independent set has a sampling margin of error of 4 percentage points.

—Matthew Sheffield