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Feb. 18, 2020, 5:41 p.m. EST

Sanders pulls away from Biden in latest WSJ/NBC News poll

4 candidates essentially tied for second place; Trump approval hits high mark

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By Aaron Zitner

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks to supporters at a campaign stop in Plymouth, New Hampshire, on Feb. 9.

Sen. Bernie Sanders has taken sole possession of the lead in the Democratic primary race, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds, with four candidates essentially tied for second place amid declining support for former Vice President Joe Biden and the rising profile of Michael Bloomberg, the former New York mayor.

Sanders had 27% support among Democratic primary voters nationally in the new survey, the same as in January. Biden, who previously had 26%, has dropped 11 percentage points since last month. Biden is bunched closely with Bloomberg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who each have 14% support, and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, with 13%. Sen. Amy Klobuchar has 7%.

As in prior surveys, about 40% of Democrats say their top choice is one of the most ardent liberals, Sanders or Warren, with 45% to 50% picking a more centrist candidate. The difference now is that more candidates are dividing the party’s self-described centrist voters, while Sanders has expanded his lead over Warren among liberals.

The new Journal/NBC News survey also finds that Trump has suffered little political damage, and possibly has gained ground, after the impeachment trial in Congress. Some 47% approve of his job performance, a high mark that he has hit only once before, with 50% disapproving. Approval among independents hit a record 51%.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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