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Warren Gains on Biden in Perceived Electability in CBS Poll

September 9, 2019

Elizabeth Warren is gaining both in probable Democratic convention delegates and in perceived electability, a CBS News/YouGov tracker poll showed on Sunday, even as former Vice President Joe Biden leads in an estimate of likely delegates from early-voting states.

Among those considering supporting the Massachusetts senator, the percentage who think she would probably beat President Donald Trump in 2020 has jumped 16 percentage points since June, to 55% from 39%. That cuts into Biden’s key argument that he’s the Democrat most likely to beat Trump.

In aggregate vote preference across early-state contests, Warren and Biden are in a statistical tie, at 26% and 25% support, respectively, the survey found. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders trailed with 19%, and all other Democrats were in single digits.

State preferences show Warren slightly edging Biden in New Hampshire, at 27% support to 26%, with Sanders at 25%, suggesting the wide Democratic field is being narrowed down there to a three-person race. In Iowa, Biden at 29% leads Sanders at 26% and Warren at 17%.

Of the convention delegates estimated to be available through Super Tuesday on March 3, Biden leads Warren with an estimated 600 to 545. CBS said Warren has gained delegate share from lower-tier candidates -- notably, from California Senator Kamala Harris -- not from Biden. Sanders had an implied 286 delegates.

The CBS News survey was taken Aug. 28-Sept. 4, with 16,525 registered voters surveyed in 18 states that will hold early primaries and caucuses. The margin of error was plus or minus 1.8 percentage points.

Three-Person Race

Separately, a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Sunday showed Biden, Sanders and Warren as the top tier of candidates nationwide and the only Democrats whose support in the survey was in the double digits. Biden was favored by 29% of registered voters who are Democrats or lean Democrat, compared with Sanders at 19% and Warren at 18%.

Support for Biden and Sanders in that survey series held steady since July, while Warren gained ground. Harris fell back after a strong performance in the first Democratic presidential debate in June.

The survey was conducted Sept. 2-5 by Langer Research Associates among 1,003 adults nationwide. It had a margin of error of 5.5 percentage points.

Four in 10 respondents who were Democrats or leaned Democratic said a candidate younger than 70 years old was likelier than an older nominee to defeat Trump; just 3% gave the edge to an older candidate.

Warren is 70, Biden 76, Sanders 78 and Trump 73.

CBS also asked a question about age in its survey. Only 5% of Democratic-leaning voters said Warren was too old to serve effectively; 31% said that of Biden and 37% of Sanders.

In the CBS poll, Biden was named “most presidential” among Democrats, while Warren, a former Harvard Law School professor known for her detailed policy proposals, was named “most knowledgeable” by a wide margin.

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