The unreasonably large field of candidates seeking the 2020 Democratic nomination is starting to narrow. The third debate in Houston on Sept. 12 will, for the first time, consist of a single night with 10 candidates on stage. Only three of those candidates—former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), and Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.)—have a realistic shot of winning the nomination.
Biden continues to lead the field at 28.9 percent, according to the Real Clear Politics polling average. Sanders and Warren are virtually tied at 17.1 percent and 16.5 percent, respectively. For what it's worth (perhaps not much), their combined support is greater than Biden's share of the vote, which has remained relatively stable despite growing concerns about his candidacy.
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Polling indicates that each candidate is appealing to particular sets of voters. Biden, for example, is crushing it with the elderly. The most recent Quinnipiac poll shows the former vice president receiving a whopping 48 percent of the vote among Democratic voters over the age of 65, but just 10 percent among voters under 34. These younger voters are much more likely to favor Sanders (31 percent) or Warren (25 percent).
The demographic distribution among Sanders and Warren supporters are similar, which may explain why tensions are rising between the two campaigns. There are some key differences worth noting. The typical Warren supporter, for example, is richer, whiter, and more likely to identify as liberal than the typical Sanders supporter. Despite strong competition from South Bend mayor Pete "Boat Shoes" Buttigieg, Warren has emerged as the clear favorite among rich white liberals.
The most recent YouGov/Economist poll shows Warren leading the field among voters with incomes higher than $100,000; she gets 25 percent of the vote, compared to 19 percent for Biden. Sanders, meanwhile, is in fifth place among wealthier voters, receiving just 7 percent of the vote, behind "Boat Shoes" (10 percent) and California Sen. Kamala Harris (9 percent).
Warren's base is also decidedly pasty. She is the top candidate among white voters at 25 percent, according to the YouGov/Economist poll. Biden is close behind at 21 percent, while Sanders is in third at 17 percent. Warren also dominates among Democratic voters who identify as liberal. In the Quinnipiac poll, among others, Warrens leads the field among Democrats who describe their political philosophy as "very liberal." She receives 34 percent of the vote compared to 22 percent for Sanders, and 15 percent for Biden among this demographic. Biden leads by nearly 30 points among Democrats who identify as moderate or conservative.