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Bernie Sanders Takes Lead Nationally as Biden Nosedives Post-Iowa: Quinnipiac Poll

"This poll reflects a fundamentally different race than pre-Iowa, one in which Bernie Sanders is the clear front-runner."

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks during a Town Hall at the Hanover Inn Dartmouth on February 09, 2020 in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks during a Town Hall at the Hanover Inn Dartmouth on February 09, 2020 in Hanover, New Hampshire. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Sen. Bernie Sanders took first place among 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll, the first time the Vermont senator has topped the survey. 

"This poll reflects a fundamentally different race than pre-Iowa, one in which Bernie Sanders is the clear front-runner," tweeted journalist Krystal Ball. 

Sanders, whose "Not me, us" campaign message is resonating with voters across the country—particularly young and nonwhite voters—has the support of 25% of likely voters, while former Vice President Joe Biden comes in second with 17%. It's a nine-point drop for Biden after the Iowa caucuses, where the former vice president severely underperformed expectations, coming in fourth. 

The poll (pdf) also found Biden slipping in the electability metric. 

"Joe Biden's electability number has fallen by 17 points in the last *two weeks* per Quinnipiac's poll," tweeted NBC News reporter Sahil Kapur. "Now 27% of Democrats say he has the best chance of defeating Trump, down from 44%."

Sanders came in second in electability, but within the margin of error, at 25%. Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg was third with 17%. The rest of the field—even former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who did well in the Iowa Caucus—were in single digits. 

"Clearly Biden's fourth place finish in Iowa has hurt the perception of what was his biggest strength—electability," Quinnipiac poll analyst Tim Malloy said in a statement.

The Sanders campaign is looking to win big in New Hampshire's Tuesday primary election. In an email to supporters, Sanders supporter Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) issued a call to action.

"Our time is now," said Ocasio-Cortez. "We're not waiting for another election or another presidency to win social, racial, economic, and environmental justice for all."

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