Democrats are more than halfway through their nominating process, but voters nationwide are still split over which candidate they want to see in the White House, according to a new Bloomberg Politics poll.
The survey, released Thursday, shows that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is the first choice among 49 percent of Democrats who have voted or intend to vote in their primary contests. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, notches 48 percent of support. Three percent of voters say they are unsure.
Clinton has garnered a lead of more than 700 delegates in the primary race so far (including superdelegates) and more than two dozen states have already held their nominating contests. Still, Sanders continues to cultivate enthusiasm from first-time voters, people under the age of 35, men, and independents. Clinton, in contrast, continues to lead Sanders with large advantages among voters over 35, identified Democrats, and women.
The Bloomberg poll shows the former secretary of state continuing to struggle on issues of trustworthiness, with just a quarter of voters saying Clinton is an honest candidate. Sixty-four percent of voters see Sanders as embodying those characteristics. Nearly 60 percent of voters also say the Vermont senator cares more about people like them.
On the heels of the recent terror attacks in Brussels, however, Clinton could benefit with her foreign policy experience. By more than a 3-to-1 ratio, Clinton was believed to be the candidate who could best combat terrorism.
In the general election, Sanders seemed to perform better than his Democratic rival against potential Republicans. Against Donald Trump, Clinton would lead by 18 points, but Sanders would lead by 24 points. If Cruz were the GOP nominee, Clinton would hold a 9-point edge, but Sanders would lead by 12 points. Clinton would lose to Kasich by 4 percentage points, compared to a Sanders win by the same margin.
The Bloomberg poll, conducted between Mar. 19-22, surveyed 1,000 adults with a margin or error of 3.1 percentage points. It included a subgroup of 311 Democrats who have voted or are likely to vote in the Democratic nominating contests, with a margin of error of 5.6 percentage points. A subset of 815 likely voters in the general election had a margin or error of 3.4 percentage points.