Ahead of debates, new polls show Biden with wide lead in crowded 2020 contest

By Emily Tillett, Grace Segers

/ CBS News

Latest polling on 2020 Democratic campaigns

On the day of the deadline to qualify for the next two 2020 Democratic presidential debates, two new polls indicated that no new candidate has reached the polling threshold required. This means that will be only one debate with 10 candidates on stage for the September and October Democratic debates.

A new USA Today/Suffolk University poll shows Joe Biden with a double-digit lead over the rest of 2020 contenders. Biden, who has been pushing with ad buys in Iowa this past week, attracted 32% support, up two points from the previous USA Today/Suffolk poll in June.

In second is Elizabeth Warren with 14% support, with Bernie Sanders close behind, at 12%. Warren's support jumped four percentage points since the June poll.

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Warren was also a strong second choice for voters — 17% of voters polled picked her, more than any other contender. South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg was the third choice with 12%.

Biden also leads a new Quinnipiac poll, which showed him with 32% support among Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters. Warren again was in second place, with 19% support.

This ensures that only ten candidates will appear on stage in the September debate: Biden, Cory Booker, Buttigieg, Julián Castro, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O'Rourke, Sanders, Warren, and Andrew Yang.

Tom Steyer, Tulsi Gabbard and Marianne Williamson had met the polling threshold to qualify for the debate, but did not meet the donor threshold.

The positive numbers for Biden come just after his campaign disputed the results of another poll which found Sanders and Warren effectively tied with the former vice president. Biden's campaign stressed to CBS News that two other polls (which indicted Biden maintained his lead in the field) more effectively represent the views of the Democratic primary electorate.

"If you have been a pollster for a long time, you can smell funky data," Biden campaign pollster John Anzalone told CBS' Bo Erickson of Monday's Monmouth University poll. "You're not doing anything wrong…it's just statistics."

Anzalone argued yesterday's less-than-300 sample size poll was an "outlier" and would have been re-run if his shop returned a similar poll.

The USA TODAY/Suffolk Poll of 1,000 registered voters, taken by landline and cell phone from Aug. 20-25, has a margin of error of + / – 3 percentage points.

From August 21 – 26, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,422 self-identified registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points, including the design effect. The survey includes 648 Democratic voters and independent voters who lean Democratic with a margin of error of +/- 4.6 percentage points, including the design effect.

First published on August 28, 2019 / 10:03 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Emily Tillett

Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital

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