Elizabeth Warren jumps out to a big lead in MoveOn poll

Image: Presidential Candidates Attend Black Economic Alliance Forum In Char
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., at the Black Economic Alliance Forum at the Charleston Music Hall on June 15, 2019, in Charleston, South Carolina. Copyright Sean Rayford Getty Images file
By Ali Vitali with NBC News Politics
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The survey comes a day ahead of the first Democratic debate, hosted by NBC, in Miami on Wednesday and Thursday.


MIAMI — Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders top a new straw poll from progressive group MoveOn.org, illuminating how the packed field of candidates is coming into focus for more left-leaning Democratic voters just before the first debate of the 2020 cycle.

The poll, being released Tuesday and which NBC News is the first to report, shows Warren is the first choice of 38 percent of MoveOn's members nationwide — and she also comes in on top in each of the states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and California.

Sanders comes in second — 17 percent say he's their first choice — trailing Warren by more than 20 points. Former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg are the only other candidates to earn double-digit support, and California Sen. Kamala Harris comes in with 7 percent support.

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That Sanders would do well in the progressive group's poll is no surprise: MoveOn backed him over then-rival Hillary Clinton in 2016's Democratic primary, and a majority of MoveOn members at the time said they preferred him to the former secretary of state. But that progressives are gravitating toward like-minded policy wonk Warren could be another sign of trouble for Sanders, who has been overtaken by the Massachusetts senator in some recent polls.

MoveOn's first straw poll of the 2020 contest found a mostly wide-open field, with almost 3 in 10 respondents unsure of whom they would support. At the time, former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke edged out Biden for the top spot with 15.6 percent. Then, Sanders came in third with 13.1 percent. Warren, meanwhile, netted only 6.4 percent of the respondents.

This latest poll, though, shows a massive shift. Now, only 2 percent of voters say they're undecided on their first choice. In 2018, almost 30 percent of the respondents deemed themselves undecided on whom to support or wanting someone else not listed among the 30-plus potential choices.

The poll is online, emailed to MoveOn members, and conducted between June 17 and 21.

The field's top 20 candidates are set to face off for the first time here in Miami on Wednesday and Thursday for the debate hosted by NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo.

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