Politics

Bernie Sanders leads in Texas, a pivotal Super Tuesday primary, NBC/Marist poll says

Share
Key Points
  • Bernie Sanders has a solid lead in Tuesday's Texas Democratic presidential primary, one of the biggest prizes of the states voting on Super Tuesday, according to an NBC News/Marist poll. 
  • Joe Biden and Mike Bloomberg trail Sanders in Texas. 
  • Republican Sen. John Cornyn also leads in a potential general election race against Democrat M.J. Hegar, the leading candidate to face him. 
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) waves as he arrives onstage for a campaign rally at Vic Mathias Shores Park on February 23, 2020 in Austin, Texas.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images

Bernie Sanders holds a comfortable lead in Tuesday's Texas Democratic primary, one of the biggest troves of delegates up for grabs in the race for the 2020 presidential nomination, according to an NBC News/Marist poll released Sunday.

The Vermont senator has the support of 34% of likely Democratic primary voters in the Lone Star State, the survey found. He has a comfortable cushion over former Vice President Joe Biden, who 19% of respondents picked as their first choice. 

Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., follow at 15% and 10%, respectively.

Here's where the full eight-person field stands in the Texas primary: 

  • Sanders: 34%
  • Biden: 19%
  • Bloomberg: 15%
  • Warren: 10%
  • Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg: 8%
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.: 3%
  • Billionaire activist Tom Steyer: 1% (Steyer dropped out of the race Saturday after the poll was taken)
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii: 1%
  • Undecided: 9%

Contenders for the nomination have devoted considerable time and resources to Texas, which will help to shape the delegate race. The state will award 228 pledged national delegates, the second most of any state voting Tuesday, after California's 415. 

Sanders, who leads Biden in the delegate count after the former vice president's win in the South Carolina primary Saturday, could need big wins in both California and Texas to accumulate the delegate majority required to win the nomination. 

Both states are tests of Sanders' push to mobilize younger Latino voters, a key piece of his strategy this year. 

The NBC/Marist poll also surveyed the general election in Texas, a changing state that Democrats have put more effort into winning in recent years. In a hypothetical matchup between President Donald Trump and Sanders, 49% of registered voters choose the incumbent, while 45% pick the senator. 

Trump leads Biden by the same margin. 

Key Senate race

Texas will also play host to a closely watched Senate race in November. After former Rep. Beto O'Rourke's stronger than expected challenge of Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018, Democrats have their eyes on GOP Sen. John Cornyn's seat this year. 

M.J. Hegar, an Air Force veteran and former U.S. House candidate, leads the Democratic Senate primary race with 16% of support among likely Democratic primary voters. Labor organizer Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez trails at 9%, followed by state Sen. Royce West and nonprofit founder Annie Garcia at 8% and 7%, respectively. 

If no candidate gets a majority of votes, the top two head to a May runoff. 

In a potential general election between Cornyn and Hegar, the Republican incumbent leads by a 49% to 41% margin among registered voters. 

The poll, taken Feb. 23 through Feb. 27, surveyed 2,409 registered voters with a margin of error of plus-or-minus 2.5 percentage points. It polled 556 likely Democratic primary voters, with a margin of error of plus-or-minus 5.3 percentage points.

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.