WASHINGTON (AFP) – Joe Biden has taken a commanding lead in the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential nomination race, polls showed Tuesday, boosting the former US vice president’s standing as he began campaigning in early-voting Iowa.
A CNN poll had Biden breaking away from the pack of 20 candidates with 39 percent support among Democrats or Democratic-leaning voters. Liberal Senator Bernie Sanders was a distant second at 15 percent.
Progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren, young South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former congressman Beto O’Rourke of Texas were bunched together with eight, seven, and six percent respectively.
Biden also came out on top in a Quinnipiac University poll with 38 percent support among Democrats and voters leaning Democratic.
Twelve percent of those polled by Quinnipiac backed Warren while 11 percent were for Sanders and 10 percent for Buttigieg.
California Senator Kamala Harris was at eight percent followed by O’Rourke with five percent.
The CNN survey signaled, however, that Americans are still a long way from making up their minds this far out from the statewide primaries, which kick off next February.
Only 36 percent of respondents with a preference said they will definitely back the candidate they currently support, while 64 percent said they could still change their minds.
In the Quinnipiac poll, 56 percent of Democrats or Democratic-leaning voters said Biden has the best chance to beat Republican Donald Trump in the November 2020 election, followed by Sanders at 12 percent.
“The Democratic primary race suddenly gets real with a fast start by former vice president Joe Biden and a very clear indication from voters that he is the only candidate who can send President Trump packing 18 months from now,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll.
The CNN poll of 1,007 respondents was conducted by SSRS research in the days after Biden officially joined the field last week, and shows his support surging by 11 percentage points since the previous survey, in March.
Quinnipiac polled 1,044 voters nationwide including 419 Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters.