Poll: Sanders leads pack, followed by Biden and Buttigieg

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFive takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Five takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Sanders tears into Trump in response to campaign kickoff rally MORE (I-Vt.) leads the Democratic presidential field in a new Emerson poll, followed by former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Five takeaways from Trump's 2020 kickoff rally Sanders tears into Trump in response to campaign kickoff rally MORE and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegSanders tears into Trump in response to campaign kickoff rally Sanders tears into Trump in response to campaign kickoff rally Biden, Sanders to be center stage at first debate 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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Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBiden, Sanders to be center stage at first debate Biden, Sanders to be center stage at first debate Poll: Six Dems lead Trump in Florida match-ups MORE (D-Calif.) and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) are tied for fourth place at 8 percent, followed by Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSanders tears into Trump in response to campaign kickoff rally Sanders tears into Trump in response to campaign kickoff rally Warren introduces universal child care legislation MORE (D-Mass.) at 7 percent.

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.