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Bernie Sanders makes a stunning showing in a new Texas poll — while Trump is 'under-performing'

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont speaking with supporters at a town meeting at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Credit: Gage Skidmore

A University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll released Thursday night showed Sen. Bernie Sanders leading the 2020 Democratic presidential field in the delegate-rich Super Tuesday state after doubling his support since last October.

The survey, conducted between Jan. 31 and Feb. 9, showed Sanders with 24% support among likely Texas Democratic primary voters. Former Vice President Joe Biden polled in second place with 22% support and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in third with 15%.

With the March 3 Texas primary just over two weeks away, the poll indicates a significant shift in the dynamics of the Democratic presidential race over a period of several months. In October, a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll showed Biden leading the field with 23% and Sanders in fourth with 12%.

"Most of the movement has been Sanders and [billionaire businessman Michael] Bloomberg, with Biden [holding] still," Joshua Blank, research director for the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin, told The Texas Tribune. "To be unable to increase his vote share is pretty telling for Biden."

The internet survey of 1,200 registered voters has an overall margin of error of +/- 2.83 percentage points and a margin of error of +/- 4.09 percentage points for the Democratic race.

The poll also found that President Donald Trump is leading all 2020 Democratic presidential candidates in Texas, with Sanders trailing the president by the smallest margin.

"The Trump trial ballots confirm what we've seen, that Trump is winning, but he clearly is under-performing, given the party profile in the state," Daron Shaw, a government professor at the University of Texas at Austin who co-directed the poll, told the Tribune. "It is interesting when you put a flesh and blood Democrat up there, it drops that number, but here's a Republican in a Republican state who's not at 50%, which is a sign of weakness."

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