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Bernie Sanders has double-digit lead in Colorado's Democratic primary, poll shows

Warren second behind Sanders, followed by Buttigieg, Bloomberg, Biden
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Posted at 11:49 AM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-27 13:56:04-05

DENVER – Bernie Sanders is the likely favorite to win Colorado’s Democratic primary next week, with a new poll Thursday showing the Vermont senator has a double-digit lead over competing candidates and wide support among young people and Coloradans who consider themselves very liberal.

Sanders, at 27%, leads the poll by 12 points over Elizabeth Warren (15%). Trailing them are Pete Buttigieg (12%), Michael Bloomberg (11%), Joe Biden (11%) and Amy Klobuchar (6%), according to the poll of 500 Democratic and unaffiliated likely primary voters conducted by Colorado firm Magellan Strategies on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

Magellan Strategies conducted live interviews via cell phone and landline of 350 Democratic voters and 150 unaffiliated voters likely to vote in the March 3 Super Tuesday primary and was weighted to the demographics of prior Democratic primary elections in the state. The margin of error is ±4.38%. The poll was fielded and paid for by Magellan Strategies, which is not working with anyone involved in the Colorado Democratic primary.

Screen Shot 2020-02-27 at 7.57.07 AM.png<div class="Figure-credit" itemprop="author">Courtesy Magellan Strategies

Aside from the six aforementioned candidates, Tom Steyer, Tulsi Gabbard and “other” all received 1% in the poll, while 15% of people said they were still undecided.

Sanders, who won the 2016 caucus in Colorado and who has seen thousands turn out for rallies in Denver, has a wide lead, according to the poll, and is popular across the moderate-liberal spectrum in Colorado.

He leads among Democratic voters by 13% and unaffiliated voters by 10%, according to the poll, and among respondents who consider themselves “very liberal,” he leads Warren by 21 percentage points. Among respondents who consider themselves “somewhat liberal,” Sanders leads Warren by 8 points. And among those who consider themselves “moderate,” he leads Buttigieg and Bloomberg by 1% and Biden by 4% in Colorado – though the margin of error for that subgroup (±7.5%) puts most candidates within the same range.

He and Warren are also extremely popular among younger people, who were also more likely to have made up their minds for whom they would vote. Among respondents aged 18-44, 49% said they supported Sanders while 20% said they supported Warren.

Sanders was tied with Buttigieg at 20% among voters aged 45-64, and 15% of that age group was still undecided.

Among respondents aged 65+, Bloomberg (19%), Biden (18%) and Sanders (15%) hold the lead, while 19% of respondents said they were still undecided.

Sanders has a 19-point lead over Buttigieg and a 22-point lead over Warren among men, but just a five-point lead over Warren among women. The poll also showed that Sanders had the most support among Hispanic (40%) and African American (33%) respondents.

Candidates need to receive 15% of the vote to be viable for delegates, which puts Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, Bloomberg and Biden within the margin of error to win delegates in Colorado.

Magellan Strategies wrote in its analysis that the 15% of voters who said they were still undecided would be “pivotal in determining the final outcome” but that Sanders’ camp should feel good headed into Tuesday, with 764,877 ballots from all parties already returned in Colorado as of Tuesday night, according to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.

“Right now, the 12-point lead for Sanders means that he is the only candidate who can feel optimistic about his chances in Colorado on Super Tuesday,” pollster David Flaherty wrote.

The poll also asked respondents whether it is more important to pick a candidate in the Democratic primary who shares their values and personal beliefs or a candidate who can defeat President Donald Trump in November.

A distinct majority – 57% of respondents – said they believed it was most important to pick a candidate who can beat Trump, while 36% said they thought it was more important to pick a candidate who shared their values and beliefs.

Screen Shot 2020-02-27 at 7.57.17 AM.png<div class="Figure-credit" itemprop="author">Courtesy Magellan Strategies

But among younger voters aged 18-44, those tables turned. Just 43% said beating Trump was more important, compared to 52% who said that shared values and beliefs were more important.

“This data point combined with the fact that nearly 70% of these voters are supporting either Senator Sanders or Senator Warren suggests that those two candidates are clearly more in line with their values than the more moderate candidates,” Flaherty wrote.

The survey is the only major poll of Colorado ahead of the primary and comes after more than $6 million in ad spending by Bloomberg and a slew of visits to the state by most of the candidates, though Biden has not held a public event. Another poll released Wednesday of Colorado by Data for Progress showed Sanders also leading Warren by a wide margin in the state, but the methodology of the poll was unclear.

Numbers released by the Secretary of State’s Office Wednesday showed 323,735 Democratic ballots had been returned as of Tuesday night. Among unaffiliated voters, who can pick whether to vote in the Democratic or Republican primary and are the largest group of voters in Colorado, 95,186 had returned Democratic ballots and 51,167 had returned Republican ballots.