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New national poll shows Sanders surpassing Biden with African Americans

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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has strengthened his lead in the 2020 Democratic presidential race and surpassed former Vice President Joe Biden 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.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg garnered the backing of 10 percent of respondents. Four percent said they would vote for Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), while 3 percent said they’d back billionaire activist Tom Steyer. 

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.

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.

Tags 2020 Democratic primary Amy Klobuchar Bernie Sanders Black voters Elizabeth Warren Joe Biden Michael Bloomberg Pete Buttigieg poll Tom Steyer

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