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Poll: Sanders leads pack, followed by Biden and Buttigieg

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGOP is consumed by Trump conspiracy theories Manchin on collision course with Warren, Sanders Sanders on Cheney drama: GOP is an 'anti-democratic cult' MORE (I-Vt.) leads the Democratic presidential field in a new Emerson poll, followed by former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden to meet with 6 GOP senators next week Arizona secretary of state gets security detail over death threats surrounding election audit On The Money: Five takeaways on a surprisingly poor jobs report | GOP targets jobless aid after lackluster April gain MORE and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete Buttigieg'Funky Academic:' Public has been 'groomed to measure progress by firsts' Biden administration in talks with LA Mayor Eric Garcetti for India ambassador post: reports Business groups target moderate Democrats on Biden tax plans MORE.

The survey found that Sanders, who has come in second behind Biden in most polling, is leading with 29 percent. Biden, who has not yet announced a 2020 bid, is in second place with 24 percent, followed by Buttigieg at 9 percent.

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The poll is one of several showing the meteoric rise of Buttigieg, despite his relatively low name recognition just a few months ago. An Iowa poll last week had him in third place, behind Biden and Sanders.

“While still early in the nominating process, it looks like Mayor Pete is the candidate capturing voters’ imagination,” Spencer Kimball, director of Emerson Polling, said in a statement Monday. “The numbers had him at 0% in mid-February, 3% in March and now at 9% in April.”

Meanwhile, Kimball said, Biden has lost some support in recent weeks. He led Sanders, 27 percent to 17 percent, in February before dropping to 26 percent in March, tying with Sanders. In recent weeks, Biden has been dogged by allegations from several women who say he touched them inappropriately at public events, though half of Democratic voters have said the allegations will not affect their vote.

Should Biden ultimately decide against a presidential bid, Sanders would be in an even stronger position, according to the poll, which finds the Vermont senator is the second choice for 31 percent of Biden's supporters. Buttigieg is the second choice for 17 percent of Biden backers, followed by O’Rourke with 13 percent.

The poll, conducted April 11–14, surveyed 356 registered voters nationwide and has a margin of error of 5.2 percentage points.