New polling shows former Vice President Joe Biden has maintained his lead among Democratic presidential candidates in Nevada and projects a tight race for the state between President Donald Trump and any of the three Democratic frontrunners.
The poll, conducted by Emerson College, found Biden at 30% support, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., at 22% and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, at 19%.
While no other candidate broke 10%, businessman Andrew Yang, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg polled at 5%. Businessman Tom Steyer was at 3%. All other candidates were at 1% or less.
A little over half of the respondents said they could change their minds and vote for a different candidate. Biden and Sanders had the most committed voters — 55% and 50%, respectively. A total of 27% of respondents said they were committed to Warren.
It is important for Biden to maintain his lead in Nevada because he faces possible trouble in Iowa and New Hampshire, Spencer Kimball, director of Emerson Polling, said in a statement.
“As Nevada is the third state in the nomination process, Biden needs a firewall there or in South Carolina if he struggles in the first two contests in order to propel him on to Super Tuesday on March 3,” Kimball said.
The poll projects whoever wins the Democratic nomination will have a tough fight with Trump. In the poll’s projected matchups, Trump and Sanders tie at 50% in Nevada, while the president beats both Biden and Warren 51% to 49%.
The poll of registered voters, which was conducted Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, has a “credibility interval” — similar to a margin of error — of 2.9%.
Nevada is a difficult state to poll for reasons such as its relatively new status as one of the first states to vote and the odd hours of its workforce compared to the rest of the nation.
The Nevada caucuses are Feb. 22, giving candidates a little more than three months to make gains or entrench their lead in the state.