Poll Finds Bernie Sanders Leading in Colorado Primary

Bernie Sanders won the 2016 Colorado presidential caucus.
Bernie Sanders won the 2016 Colorado presidential caucus. Evan Semón
“Don’t tell anybody, but I think we’re going to win here in Colorado,” Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the frontrunner for the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination, told a crowd of more than 11,000 supporters in Denver earlier this month. If a new poll of the Colorado’s Democratic primary race is any indication, the secret is out.

The poll, released Wednesday, February 26, by research firm Data for Progress, shows Sanders leading the field with 34 percent support, a comfortable 14 points ahead of his closest rival, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Pollsters surveyed 471 likely voters in Colorado between February 23 and 25, shortly after Sanders's resounding victory in the Nevada caucuses propelled him to clear frontrunner status. It’s just the third poll of the Colorado primary to be released this election cycle, and the first since an Emerson College survey in August 2019, which showed Sanders with a narrow lead over former vice president Joe Biden.

Warren, who drew a capacity crowd of 3,800 to Denver's Fillmore Auditorium on Sunday, has surged to second place with 20 percent support, according to the poll. Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg are tied for third with 14 percent each. Biden, who led in an early Colorado primary poll released by Public Policy Polling last July, has fallen to fifth, with just 10 percent support.

The Data for Progress poll finds that Sanders is performing best among younger Coloradans, with 57 percent support from voters under 45. Nearly two-thirds of the under-45 crowd has a "very favorable" impression of the self-described "Democratic Socialist," the highest percentage among the candidates.

Voting in Colorado's March 3 presidential primary — the first to be held here since 2000, after the state switched from caucuses in the wake of complaints in 2016 — has been under way for weeks. As of Tuesday, February 25, 764,877 mail-in primary ballots had been received by elections officials, including 323,735 by registered Democrats and 78,216 by unaffiliated voters, according to data released by the Colorado Secretary of State's Office.

But that doesn't mean the race is over yet. While a slight majority of Colorado primary voters say their "mind is made up" on their chosen candidate, the poll from Data for Progress found that 41 percent are still considering other options.
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Chase Woodruff is a staff writer at Westword interested in climate change, the environment and money in politics.
Contact: Chase Woodruff