It’s official: Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will be standing center stage during the first Democratic debate of the 2016 campaign, according to CNN’s release of the podium order. Bernie Sanders will stand to Clinton’s right with Martin O’Malley on her left. Candidates Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee will round off the stage.
The staging signals where the candidates stand with voters. Here’s a look at where the candidates rank in the latest polls before they get behind their podiums Tuesday evening in Las Vegas.
Starting from the center, Clinton remains the front-runner, however, her levels of support have fallen in recent weeks. A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted between Oct. 4-9 had Clinton polling at 41 percent, down from 51 percent. A CBS poll conducted from Oct. 4-8 also had Clinton at the top of the pack with almost six out of 10 people polled finding her to be the most electable Democratic candidate.
Standing to Clinton’s right is her biggest challenger, the senior senator from Vermont. Sanders has polled at 28 percent support up from 24 percent. Sanders has steadily increased his support over the past few months.
The unknown factor is Vice President Joe Biden. While Biden hasn’t declared his candidacy, he was still coming in third in the polls with 20 percent of the vote. A CBS poll found that if Biden does not enter the race, Clinton would extend her lead over Sanders even more. CNN has said it would add a podium to its stage if Biden declares before the start of the debate.
The Other Candidates
Webb came in with only 2 percent support in the CBS poll, while the remaining candidates O'Malley and Chafee both came in with less than 0.5 percent in the CBS poll. Approximately 5 percent of voters said they didn’t know who they would support, the CBS poll showed.
CNN starts its debate coverage at 8:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday evening.