Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden remains the front-runner among the 2020 Democratic contenders, but Sen. Elizabeth Warren is on the move, passing Sen. Bernard Sanders for second place, according to a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday.
Mr. Biden had support from 32% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents - in line with his 33% support from last month.
Ms. Warren, meanwhile, is now at 15% - up 5 points from last month - and Mr. Sanders was at 14% support.
Sen. Kamala Harris was next at 8%, followed by South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 5%.
“Biden maintains his lead but there is plenty percolating in the tier right below him,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “Next week will provide the first opportunity for voters to see these candidates side by side. Well, at least they’ll see some of them side by side.”
Mr. Biden was also judged to have the best chance among the Democratic field of defeating President Trump next year, followed by Mr. Sanders, Ms. Warren, Ms. Harris, and Mr. Buttigieg.
“Democratic voters have told us that electability matters in 2020,” Mr. Murray said.
He said the perception that Mr. Biden is the party’s best shot to take on Mr. Trump separates him from the rest of his pack among his own supporters, but that other Democratic voters also tend to see Mr. Biden as a “highly electable” nominee.
“This could play to his advantage as the field gets winnowed, but only if he can maintain this aura as the primary campaign really gets underway,” Mr. Murray said, noting that electability “is in the eye of the supporter.”
“At this early stage of the race, voters have not had a chance to make direct comparisons among the candidates, which makes it is easier to project a sense of electability on almost anyone in the field,” he said. “All this could change after next week’s debates.”
The Monmouth survey of 306 registered voters who identified themselves as Democrats or Democratic leaners was taken from June 12-17 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.6 percentage points.
Though Democrats like to preach diversity, a USC Dornsife/LA Times survey released Wednesday showed that most Democratic voters say a generic white male has the best shot at beating Mr. Trump next year.
And a new survey from the firm Avalanche Strategy found that when the notion of “electability” was taken off the table, Ms. Warren was the top choice of Democratic voters at 21%, followed by Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders at 19% apiece.
When respondents were asked simply who their preferred candidate was, Mr. Biden was at 29% percent support, followed by Mr. Sanders at 17% and Ms. Warren at 16%.