Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has opened up a double-digit lead over his competitors for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, according to a new national poll released Tuesday.
He comfortably holds the top spot, leading former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg by 12 percentage points.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has dropped 9 points since December’s poll to third place with 15 percent support.
Bloomberg’s jump in front of Biden could be attributed to the approximately $417.7 million Bloomberg has spent on campaign ads, according to CNN’s David Wright.
Here’s a look at ad spending through today (including future reservations:
Bloomberg: $417.7 million
Steyer: $193.6 million
Sanders: $41.8 million
Buttigieg: $40 millon
Warren: $21.4 million
Biden: $12.3 million
Klobuchar: $10.6 million
Gabbard $5.4 million
— David Wright (@DavidWright_7) February 16, 2020
Rivals, like Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, have accused Bloomberg of buying ads instead of trying to qualify for the Democratic debates.
“I don’t think you should be able to hide behind airwaves and huge ad buys,” Klobuchar told CNN on Sunday. “He has to come on these shows, and I also am an advocate for him coming on the debate stage.”
“I know I’m not going to be able to beat him on the airwaves, but I can beat him on the debate stage,” she added.
Bloomberg has qualified for Wednesday’s debate in Nevada after the results of this poll.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren also dropped 5 percentage points from December, with 12 percent support in the recent poll.
Klobuchar has moved ahead of former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, with 9 percent support.
The 5 point drop in support for Buttigieg, who’s at 8 percent support, could spell trouble for his campaign after strong finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire. He still leads Sanders in the number of delegates awarded by one.
Biden, however, still outperforms the other Democratic candidates in a tested head-to-head against President Donald Trump.
Although respondents indicated the top six candidates would all beat Trump, Biden does the best by beating him by six points, with 50 percent support compared to 44 percent for the president.
The NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll was conducted from Feb. 13-Feb. 16 and surveyed 527 Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents with a margin of error of 5.4 percentage points.
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