Poll: Biden leads 2020 Dem field by 19 points

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency 2020 candidates keep fitness on track while on the trail Mark Mellman: The most important moment in history? MORE has a commanding lead in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to a new national poll released exclusively to The Hill that finds him ahead of his closest competitor, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency 2020 candidates keep fitness on track while on the trail Mark Mellman: The most important moment in history? MORE (I-Vt.), by nearly 20 points.

Thirty-six percent of Democratic respondents said that Biden is most likely to get their vote to become the party’s 2020 presidential nominee, according to the Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey. He’s followed by Sanders in second place, who scored 17 percent.

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The survey is only the latest putting Biden atop the pack of Democrats running for president. Since announcing his presidential bid last month, the former vice president has maintained a wide lead in most national and state polls, while Sanders has routinely placed second.

The poll shows Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisKavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw Mark Mellman: The most important moment in history? Biden leads in new national poll, Warren close behind in second place MORE (D-Calif.) placing third with 8 percent support. She’s followed by Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenKavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw Mark Mellman: The most important moment in history? Katie Pavlich: The Democrats' desperate do-overs MORE (D-Mass.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegKavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw 2020 candidates keep fitness on track while on the trail Mark Mellman: The most important moment in history? MORE, who are tied at 5 percent each.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) comes in fifth place with 4 percent, according to the survey.

Mark PennMark Penn Poll: Trump's approval steady despite deepening economic fears Poll: Gun violence turning into top issue for voters in 2020 Poll: Voters want US to confront China over trade MORE, the co-director of the Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll, said that Biden is in a strong position in the primary contest, but that other candidates remain viable.

“Biden continues to have a strong position but will need to grow to win it,” Penn said. “Absent an upset in Iowa or New Hampshire, three candidates, Biden, Harris and Sanders, are emerging from the pack.”

Thirty-five percent of respondents see Biden as the candidate with the strongest chance of defeating President TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border MORE in 2020, more than any other Democratic hopeful. Sanders sits more than 20 points behind Biden, with 11 percent saying that he has the best chance at beating the president in a general election match-up.

Biden has built much of his campaign around the notion that defeating Trump should be Democrats’ primary consideration in selecting their presidential nominee. That contrasts with the campaign messages of several other contenders, like Sanders and Warren, who have called for bolder political change.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey suggests, however, that voters may have more on their minds than simply defeating Trump.

A plurality of respondents, 33 percent, said that it is more important that Democrats nominate a presidential candidate who shares their positions on key issues, while 27 percent said they want someone with a strong chance of winning in 2020. Twenty-six percent said that both qualities are equally important.

“Biden is seen as most likely to beat Trump but Democratic voters are as concerned about the issues as electability, if not more so,” Penn said.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll online survey of 1,536 registered voters was conducted from May 29-30. Of that, 352 self-identified Democratic voters were asked about their candidate preference in the party’s primary field.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and The Harris Poll. The Hill will work with Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll throughout 2019.

Full poll results will be posted online later this week. The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.