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MEMO: SANDERS HAS STRONG LEAD IN NEVADA

Authors: Sean McElwee, Executive Director of Data for Progress, Jason Ganz, CTO of Data for Progress, Ryan O’Donnell, Senior Polling Advisor, Data for Progress, Ethan Winter, Senior Adviser

Key Findings:

  • Senator Bernie Sanders has a commanding nineteen point in the Nevada caucus, with 35 percent of likely caucusgoers supporting him. He is followed by Senator Elizabeth Warren, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Former Vice President Joe Biden who are all tightly clustered at 16, 15 and 14 percentage points, respectively. 

  • Senator Amy Klobuchar, whose third place finish in the New Hampshire primary garnered considerable media coverage sits in sixth place with 9 percent of likely caucusgoers supporting her. 

  • Sanders performs extremely well with Hispanic likely caucusgoers, registering 66 percent support, with no other candidate cracking double digits. He continues to see strong support among younger voters, with likely caucusgoers under 45 supporting him at 64 percent. Of those who have made up their mind, Sanders registers 47 percent support. 

  • Democratic voters strongly support both Medicare for All (69 percent in support, 23 percent opposed) and a Green New Deal (93 percent in support, 6 percent opposed).

Data for Progress conducted a poll of 766 likely Nevada caucusgoers from 2/12/2020 through 2/15/2020. Likely caucusgoers were identified from the Nevada voter file and weighted to a likely electorate. Our margin of error is +/- 3.4 percent.  

After coming away with the most votes in each of the two first contests of the Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders is going into the Nevada caucus in a strong position. He may leave in a dominant position. With a nearly 20 point lead over his next most supported opponent, Senator Sanders is in a strong position to solidify his frontrunner status with his showing in Nevada. From there we will see the strength of Joe Biden’s “firewall” in South Carolina (2/29), followed shortly by Super Tuesday (3/2). It should be noted however that Nevada is a notoriously hard state to poll and that there is enough time between now and the caucus for things to change. 

Bernie’s base of support is found both among voters under 45 and Hispanic voters. Among voters under 45, he holds a 50 point lead over Warren who sits in second place with 14 percent. Meanwhile, 66 percent of Hispanic likely caucusgoers back Sanders, with the rest of the field accounting for the remaining 34 percentage points. 

 
 

Sanders enjoys the majority backing (54 percentage points) of self-described “very liberal” likely caucusgoers and holds a plurality lead (31 percentage points) among self-described “somewhat liberal voters.” 

On net, Sanders leads the field with a 38 percentage point favorability rating (68 percent favorable, 30 percent unfavorable). Warren is in second a 35 point net favorability. Steyer sits in third place with a 31 percentage point favorable rating (59 percent favorable, 28 percent unfavorable). He is followed by Klobuchar at 28 percent (55 percent favorable, 27 percent unfavorable) and Buttigieg at 19 percent (54 percent favorable, 35 percent unfavorable). Biden, Bloomberg, and Gabbard are all underwater at -2 percentage points, -16 percentage points, -38 percentage points, respectively. 

 
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Nevada will be the most diverse to go to the polls so far during this primary. If Sanders walks away with a win, it will be in large part because of his sizable levels of support among Hispanic voters. 

A Green New Deal enjoys overwhelming support among Nevada Democratic likely caucusgoers. The massive investment in clean-energy jobs and infrastructure enjoys an 87 percentage point margin of support (93 percent support, 6 percent oppose). 

Medicare for All is strongly supported by Nevada likely caucusgoers, with 69 percent in support and 23 opposed.

 
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Conclusion

A strong Sanders showing in Nevada will cement his status as the primary’s current frontrunner. Meanwhile, Nevada could be the third disappointing showing for Biden in as many contests. He will then lead what can only be described as a lethargic campaign into South Carolina at the end of this month, a state where he’s set up to perform better but is by no means assured victory.

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