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January 10, 2020 12:04 pm

Looking for a Winner, Democrats Keep Biden and Sanders on Top: Reuters/Ipsos Poll

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

Democratic 2020 US presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden leaves a campaign town hall meeting in Rochester, New Hampshire, Oct. 9, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Mary Schwalm.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and US Senator Bernie Sanders remain the top candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination as potential voters appear increasingly interested in picking a winner this year instead of someone who shares their interests, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Thursday.

The national public opinion poll found that Biden has a slight advantage among registered Democrats, though Sanders has the most support when independents are factored in. While each state sets its own rules for picking the party’s nominee, two of the early primary states — New Hampshire and South Carolina — allow independents to participate.

According to the Jan. 8-9 poll, 23 percent of registered Democrats said they supported Biden, while 20 percent supported Sanders and 15 percent said they would vote for US Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was backed by 8 percent of registered Democrats and 7 percent supported Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

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None of the other candidates received more than 3 percent, and another 13 percent of registered Democrats said they do not know which candidate to support.

The top five candidates remained the same when independents were factored in, though Sanders had a 2 percentage point advantage over Biden among the larger group.

Sanders also was picked by the largest share of Democrats and independents as the best steward of the environment and economy, as well as the candidate who would be the best at handling the country’s healthcare system.

Biden, however, was largely considered to be most likely of all of the candidates to beat Trump in a general election.

The perception that Biden is the most electable could play a bigger role this year as the party picks a nominee. According to Reuters/Ipsos polling over the past few years, Democrats appear to be increasingly interested in simply finding a candidate who can win in the November general election.

According to the poll, 15 percent of Democrats said the main reason they were supporting a particular candidate was because they felt that candidate could win. In comparison, only 7 percent of Democrats said that in a similar poll that was conducted in August and September of 2015.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online, in English, throughout the United States. It gathered responses from 1,116 adults in all, including 479 Democrats and 144 independents. It has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of 5 percentage points.

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