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Biden leads pack of Democratic hopefuls on beat-Trump factor

Joe Biden leads in the early Democratic nomination race for 2020, helped by a sense that the former vice president is best placed to beat President Donald Trump, a new “CBS Battleground Tracker” poll shows.

Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg are among the candidates that likely Democratic voters are at least considering in 18 states that will shape the initial 2020 fight, the poll shows.

The CBS News/YouGov poll shows Biden had support of 31 per cent of Democratic primary voters with three U.S. senators next: Warren of Massachusetts at 17 per cent, Sanders of Vermont at 16 per cent, and Harris of California at 10 per cent. It was one of a number of recent national or state polls that showed Warren, a former Harvard law professor, in second place.

Biden’s top-preference numbers would translate today into an estimated delegate standing of 731 delegates to Warren’s 355 and Sanders’ 317, CBS said.

Democrats were split on whether the party’s message should emphasize returning the country to how it was before Trump, or pursue a more progressive agenda than they had under President Barack Obama. Among voters who want a more progressive direction, Biden is in much tighter competition with Warren and Sanders.

Looking ahead to the general election, Democrats think swing voters — in the abstract — might be more favourable toward a white, male, moderate candidate, the poll showed.

The survey of 16,624 registered voters in 18 states was conducted May 31 through June 12. The margin of error was plus or minus 1.5 per cent.

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