New national poll shows Sanders surpassing Biden with African Americans

New national poll shows Sanders surpassing Biden with African Americans
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Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Energy: Oil giants meet with Trump at White House | Interior extends tenure of controversial land management chief | Oil prices tick up on hopes of Russia-Saudi deal Oil giants meet at White House amid talk of buying strategic reserves The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden struggles to stay in the spotlight MORE (I-Vt.) has strengthened his lead in the 2020 Democratic presidential race and surpassed former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden struggles to stay in the spotlight Is Texas learning to love ObamaCare? Romney warns Trump: Don't interfere with coronavirus relief oversight MORE in support from African American voters, according to a new poll.

The Reuters-Ipsos survey released Tuesday found Sanders's lead stretching into the double digits for the first time, with the senator holding an 11-point advantage in the race and a 3-point edge over Biden among black voters.

Overall, 26 percent of surveyed Democrats and independents said they would vote for Sanders, a self-identified democratic socialist, while Biden and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg (D) tied in a distant second with 15 percent support.

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Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOvernight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill Democratic senators want probe into change of national stockpile description Democrats ask EPA, Interior to pause rulemaking amid coronavirus MORE (D-Mass.) and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegButtigieg launches new PAC to aid down-ballot candidates HuffPost political reporter on why Bernie fell way behind Biden Economists fear slow pace of testing will prolong recession MORE garnered the backing of 10 percent of respondents. Four percent said they would vote for Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDemocrats fear coronavirus impact on November turnout Hillicon Valley: Zoom draws new scrutiny amid virus fallout | Dems step up push for mail-in voting | Google to lift ban on political ads referencing coronavirus Democrats press Trump, GOP for funding for mail-in ballots MORE (D-Minn.), while 3 percent said they'd back billionaire activist Tom SteyerTom SteyerProgressive advocates propose T 'green stimulus' plan Candidates want data privacy rules, except for their own campaigns Budowsky: Biden should pull together a 'dream team of rivals' MORE

Sanders cemented himself as the clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination after a decisive victory at the Nevada caucuses last weekend. The victory came on the heels of a win in New Hampshire and a close second-place finish behind Buttigieg in Iowa.

The Vermont senator's continued rise in the latest Reuters survey corresponded with a significant increase in support from African American voters. Twenty-six percent of respondents in that demographic said they would back Sanders, a 7-point jump from a previous poll conducted between Jan. 29 and Feb. 19.

Meanwhile, Biden earned 23 percent support among African Americans, a 10-point dip since the previous survey. His drop coincided with a 10-point jump in support for Bloomberg, who now has 20 percent support among African Americans. 

The declining support among black voters could mark a test for Biden's campaign. Despite poor showings in Iowa and New Hampshire, the former vice president has continued to express confidence that his standing in the race will strengthen as more-diverse states hold voting.

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He has invested heavily in South Carolina, where a majority of the electorate is African American, ahead of the state's primary on Saturday. Other recent polls have shown Biden with a slim lead over Sanders in the state, though polling has indicated a slight drop in support among black voters.

Biden told CBS Sunday that Steyer's massive advertising spending in the state was a cause of that slide. Bloomberg is not competing in South Carolina, instead focusing on Super Tuesday states. 

"I think a lot’s happening in terms of the amount of money being spent by billionaires to try to cut into the African American vote," Biden said. 

The Reuters-Ipsos public opinion survey was conducted online Feb. 19-25 among a sample of 4,439 adults, including 2,244 who identify as registered Democrats or independents and 446 African Americans. The survey's credibility interval is between 2 and 5 percentage points.