Poll: Sanders, Bloomberg tied at top of Democratic field in Virginia
A new poll has Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg leading the Democratic presidential field in Virginia ahead of the state’s March 3 primary.
Bloomberg and Sanders were each at 22 percent, with former vice president Joe Biden in third at 18 percent, in the poll from Monmouth University.
Former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg was next at 11 percent, with Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar at 9 percent, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 5 percent.
“Virginia provides an interesting test on Super Tuesday. A wide range of candidates appeal to voters here, and it is very much a jump ball at this point,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
An interesting note to that point from Murray is the breakdown of how Democratic voters and independent voters split among the candidates.
Virginia does not have party registration, and its primaries are open to all voters, giving independents the option to participate in either party’s nominating process.
Democrats in the poll split for Sanders (22 percent), Biden (21 percent) and Bloomberg (20 percent) at the top. Independents favor, by a slight margin, Bloomberg (25 percent), with Sanders at 23 percent, and then Biden well back with Klobuchar at 13 percent.
Voters under 50 prefer Sanders (35 percent); voters over 65 back Bloomberg (32 percent).
One other split to note: the preferences of white voters and black voters.
White voters prefer Bloomberg (25 percent) and Sanders (23 percent), while Biden has a commanding lead among black voters (37 percent).
There is a good bit of fluidity in the electorate, to say the least. Just one in four likely primary voters are firmly set on their candidate, according to the polling, and 62 percent say beating President Trump is more important to their vote than lining up with a candidate on any policy issue.
Among that latter group, Biden and Bloomberg (each at 23 percent) lead the field, with Sanders back a bit at 17 percent.
Story by Chris Graham