Sen. Bernie Sanders, Michael Bloomberg Top FDU Poll for Democratic Presidential Nominee

Michael Bloomberg surged to the top in New Jersey but still trails Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to be Democratic nominee for President in a recently released Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) Poll. 

In a statewide survey of New Jersey adults, including those who are self-identified Democrats or lean Democratic, Sanders received support of 24%, with Bloomberg at 23%. Behind them is former Vice President Joe Biden, with 16%, followed by former South Bend, IN, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 10%, Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 7% and Sen. Amy Klobuchar at 3%. Eleven percent remain undecided. 

According to Krista Jenkins, Director of the FDU Poll and Professor of Politics and Government, the survey shows a clear distinction between the moderate and progressive wings of the Democratic party. 

Progressives vs. Moderates

“Sanders has captured the hearts and minds of Jersey progressives, much to the dismay of Warren, while Bloomberg is it for moderates, even though he has yet to appear on a debate stage and hasn’t competed in any primaries or caucuses to date,” said Jenkins. “These numbers are likely to change as the contest progresses, but for now it’s clear who’s dominating in the Garden State.”

Each candidate’s support base mirrors nationwide trends. Sanders has a commanding lead among Millennials and Ys (18-34), with 44%, followed by non-whites support at 32% and those with household incomes below $75,000 at 29%.

“Sanders is doing about as well in New Jersey as what national polling averages are finding, but Bloomberg is performing better in the Garden State,” said Jenkins. “Some of that could be simple name recognition, as Democrats are more likely to know something about Bloomberg than are others nationally.”

Bloomberg does best with Democrats 55 and older at 29%, followed closely by Biden at 25%. Those with incomes greater than $150,000 support Bloomberg at a rate of 41% as well as those with incomes between $75,000-$150,000 at 31%.

Democratic Enthusiasm

No matter the candidate, the poll found enthusiasm for voting in the Democratic primary is running high. The average score on a ten-point scale measuring voter enthusiasm for participating in the June 2 primary is an “8” overall.

As for the present occupant of the White House, the women of New Jersey are sour on reelecting President Donald Trump. Women give Trump no more than 30% support in any 

potential matchups with a Democratic nominee. Additionally, the president does poorly among non-whites in the state, losing among minority voters by sizable double digits.

New Jersey Blue

In a general election head-to-heads in New Jersey, the president loses to all of the top Democratic candidates. Bloomberg would win by the largest margin, carrying the state by 24% at 55%-31%. Against Biden and Sanders, the gap more closely approximates Trump lost to Hillary Clinton in 2016, with Biden winning 52%-34% and Sanders at 52%-35%. 

“The problem for (President Trump) is that New Jersey remains a largely Democratic state, with party identification very predictive of choices,” said Jenkins.

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