Former vice president Joe Biden holds a lead over Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) in Michigan ahead of the state’s March 10 primary, according to a poll commissioned by Detroit News and local NBC affiliate WDIV-TV.
In all, the survey of 600 likely Democratic primary voters found Biden with 29 percent support versus 22.5 percent for Sanders. However, the poll also found that the race remains fluid, with one third of respondents supporting Biden or Sanders saying they could change their minds before primary day.
The poll was conducted February 28 through March 2, overlapping Biden’s victory in South Carolina but ending before Super Tuesday. Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg received 10.5 percent in the poll, but has since dropped out of the primary race. About 16 percent of respondents said they had not yet chosen a candidate.
“What we saw in our numbers each night [of the poll] was a huge Biden surge,” pollster Richard Czuba told Detroit News. “But there’s still great fluidity. This race is close in Michigan, and I think it will continue to be close…It’s all going to be determined by who actually bothers to vote.”
Czuba indicated that this could present a problem for Sanders because Biden currently leads among voters over 50.
“The problem for Sanders folks is over 50 are more reliable,” Czuba said. “Older voters are the most motivated and are overwhelmingly casting absentee ballot votes already.” Complicating matters, several of the state’s major universities will be on spring break during the primary.
“It makes it that much harder for Bernie Sanders’ campaign to turn out college voters. Because they’re just not there,” Czuba said.
The Sanders campaign announced on Wednesday that the Vermont senator was returning to Michigan following the Super Tuesday primaries.
While Sanders jumped to a commanding lead in early state primaries, Biden trounced Sanders in the South Carolina Primary, buoyed by deep support among the state’s black voters. That support helped carry Biden to victory throughout several southern states on Super Tuesday, including Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee.
With most states reporting close to their final vote tallies, Biden has garnered 380 delegates to Sanders’s 328 in Super Tuesday states. The former vice president now has 433 delegates in total, to Sanders’s 388.