Clinton lead shrinks in Monmouth University Dem poll

Non-candidate Biden making gains

Hillary Clinton’s lead in the Democratic field has shrunk over the past month, mainly due to increased support for a candidate who isn’t even in the race. The latest national Monmouth University Poll of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters shows Joe Biden’s support rising as speculation swirls around his potential entry into the race. The poll also found that the prospect of a Biden-Elizabeth Warren ticket appeals to many Bernie Sanders voters.

Clinton currently has the support of 42 percent  of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters nationwide, which is down from 52 percent  just one month ago.

Biden, at 22 percent, and Bernie Sanders, at 20 percent,  re practically tied for second.

That represents an increase of 10 points in Biden’s support since August and a four point rise for Sanders.

In addition to the 22 percent who currently back Biden for the nomination, another seven percent  of Democrats say they would be very likely to consider voting for him if he does get into the race and another 34 percent would be somewhat likely.

The total of 63 percent who either back Biden now or would support him if he ran is up from 56 percent who said the same in July.

Fifty-six percent of both current Clinton  and Sanders voters say they would be at least somewhat likely to consider switching their support to Biden if he jumps into the race.

“For a guy who is not running for president, Biden sure is making headway against the frontrunner,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, N.J.

“There also seems to be an opening with the more liberal Sanders voters if Biden plays his cards right.” A recent meeting between Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren fueled rumors that an endorsement or other deal was being discussed.

About 1-in-4 (23 percent) of Democratic voters say that they would be more likely to support Biden if he promised to name Warren as his running mate. Another seven percent say they would be less likely, but66 percent say the prospect of a Biden-Warren ticket wouldn’t affect their nomination decision.

However, current supporters of Sanders (43 percent) are more likely than Clinton voters (18percent) to say that naming Warren to the veep slot would make them more likely to support Biden. Rumors have also circulated that Biden would commit to serving only one term if he ran. That promise would have little impact on the nomination race.

Just seven percent of Democrats say a single term pledge would make them more likely to support Biden, nine percent would be less likely, and 80 percent wouldn’t be swayed either way.  Biden’s personal rating has ticked up a few points in the past month, now standing at 71 percent favorable to nine percent unfavorable, compared with 67 percent to 14 percent in August. Despite her drop in nomination support,  Clinton continues to be viewed favorably by the vast majority of Democrats. Currently, 71 percent of her party’s voters have a favorable opinion of her and just 17 percent hold an unfavorable view – which is identical to her rating in August. Sanders’s rating of 41percent favorable to 14 perecent unfavorable – with 45% of Democrats who still have no opinion of him – is similar to his 42 percent  to 12 percent rating in August. That marks a leveling off for the Sanders rating after a period in which his numbers steadily increased from the 22 percent favorable to 13 percent unfavorable marks he earned last December. Democratic voter ratings for the rest of the field have not changed much over the past month. Jim Webb has a 13 percent favorable to 14 percent unfavorable rating, Martin O’Malley has a 13 percent to 14 percent rating, and Lincoln Chafee has a seven to 14 percent rating. In the race for the nomination,  O’Malley and  Webb each have just one percent share of the Democratic vote while Lincoln Chafee, once again, registers no support.

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