Poll: Bloomberg, Sanders neck and neck in Virginia

Former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergEngel scrambles to fend off primary challenge from left It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Liberals embrace super PACs they once shunned MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) are running neck and neck for the top spot in Virginia’s upcoming Democratic presidential primary, according to a Monmouth University survey released early Tuesday.

The poll shows Bloomberg and Sanders tied in the Old Dominion at 22 percent, followed by former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE at 18 percent. Only one other candidate, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegScaled-back Pride Month poses challenges for fundraising, outreach Biden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE, registered double-digit support in the commonwealth at 11 percent.

The poll suggests that Bloomberg has made significant inroads in Virginia, which holds its Democratic primary on Super Tuesday, despite his relatively late entrance into the presidential race. 

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The billionaire launched his campaign in late November, but has worked his way into the top tier of candidates in states that hold their primaries and caucuses on and after Super Tuesday through aggressive spending and advertising.

Still, the Monmouth poll shows many likely Virginia Democratic primary voters are not firmly committed to a particular candidate. Only 25 percent of respondents said that were certain of whom they would vote for in the March 3 primary, while 52 percent said they could still change their mind.

The poll also suggests that the results of the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, the first two nominating contests, had little effect on how voters in Virginia see the presidential race.

Only 18 percent said they took a second look at the candidates after those states voted this month. Of those respondents, only 7 percent said they changed their mind about whom they would support.

Eighty-one percent said that the results in Iowa and New Hampshire did not change their thinking about the presidential field, according to the Monmouth poll.

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Sanders, who took a close second place in Iowa and won the New Hampshire primary, is hoping that a fractured moderate lane in the Democratic nominating contest and early momentum in the race will propel him to the nomination. 

But the Monmouth poll suggests that he could face a tougher time in places like Virginia, a longtime battleground state that has shifted to the left in recent years. Only 10 percent of likely Virginia Democratic primary voters said that Sanders is their second choice in the contest, tying with Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Democrats demand Republican leaders examine election challenges after Georgia voting chaos Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-Minn.) for fourth place on that front.

Biden, Buttigieg and Bloomberg placed first, second and third, respectively, in the second-choice category.

The Monmouth poll surveyed 400 likely Virginia Democratic presidential primary voters from Feb. 13-16. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

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