KEY POINTS

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders tops another Nevada poll
  • This one by Morning Consult shows him winning the caucus with 29%
  • Biden's campaign might be all but over if he fails to come out strong in Nevada

New poll numbers for the upcoming Democratic caucuses in Nevada are looking sunny for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, but are threatening to rain on former vice president Joe Biden’s parade. Now, Biden has to worry about the new challenge posed by a resurgent Mike Bloomberg.

A Morning Consult poll conducted Wednesday shows Sanders, who won New Hampshire on February 11, as the candidate most likely to win the Nevada caucuses on February 22. Sanders is the first choice for 29% of Democratic voters, a four percent improvement since the previous poll from Feb. 4 to 9. On the other hand, Biden’s support fell three points during that time to 19%. This drop leaves him only one point ahead of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose strong showing in this poll caught observers by surprise.

Former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, who won the confusing Iowa caucus on February 3 and placed second in New Hampshire to Sanders, has the support of 11% of Nevada voters. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, has 10% support while Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-MN, improved two points to 5%.

The Morning Consult poll included 2,639 registered voters nationwide who indicated they might vote in the Democratic primary or caucuses in their state. It has a two-point margin of error.

The poll results are terrible for Biden, who had planned to make a dramatic comeback after a disastrous fourth place finish in Iowa and a fifth place finish in New Hampshire. Biden was counting on the staunch support of African-Americans to lead him to victory in Nevada, but even this demographic seems to have abandoned him this time.

The poll shows only 21% of black voters casting their lot with Biden compared to 31% in the previous poll. Thirty-two percent of black voters still believe Sanders is the Democrat that can best beat Trump, up 9% from last week. Twenty-one percent (21%) said Bloomberg is this candidate, a 7% improvement over last week.

The poll confirms Bidens unexpectedly poor fifth place showing in New Hampshire soured many Nevada Democrats on him. Asked how Biden’s showing in New Hampshire would affect their future vote, 46% of Democratic primary voters said it made them less likely to vote for him. Before New Hampshire, only 29% held this opinion.

After months atop the Democratic pack, Joe Biden has conceded he expects to do badly in New Hampshire as he did in Iowa After months atop the Democratic pack, Joe Biden has conceded he expects to do badly in New Hampshire as he did in Iowa Photo: AFP / Joseph Prezioso

On the other hand, Sanders saw a 6% jump on the same question, with 58% saying they're now more likely to vote for him after New Hampshire compared to 52% after Iowa.

Biden's hope of remaining a serious contender now hinge on Nevada and the South Carolina primary on February 29. Nevada has a large Latino voting population while South Carolina has a large African-American voting population.

Poll after poll has shown Biden's enduring appeal among Latinos and blacks. Pundits expect him to either win both contests or to come in no worse than third. Some analysts feel that if Biden doesn’t win either one, the campaign is all but over for him. Biden's is strongest among African-Americans, who haven't let him down before. Biden remained defiant despite the twin defeats.

“It ain’t over, man," he declared after New Hampshire. "It’s just getting started."

He said his campaign has "just heard from the first two of the 50 states. Where I come from, that’s the opening bell, not the closing bell. And the fight to end Donald Trump’s presidency is just beginning.”