Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, NewsEdge

Hillary Clinton’s lead over Biden and Sanders slips among Democrats, poll says

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A new poll suggests that the dominance of Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton among left-leaning voters is waning, as a challenger who has not even declared his candidacy gains ground: vice-president Joe Biden.

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 1.28.47 PMA quarter of respondents to a Bloomberg poll conducted last week said their top pick for president was Biden, while Clinton was backed by 33% andVermont senator Bernie Sanders by 24%.

“He’s been a very good, positive influence on the Obama administration,” Karen Hood, a 63-year-old consulting engineer from Houston, Texas, toldBloomberg about why she chose Biden as her top pick for president. “I think he would help carry on what President Obama has started.”

Three more Democratic candidates, including former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley and former Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee, were the top pick of less than 3% of people polled.

Earlier in the summer, pollsters believed that Clinton would not only sweep her Democratic challengers but the entire election. In late June, she was polling 8% above her closest competitor, who at the time was Republican former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

Since then, Sanders has also gained in polls in the key early primary states. September polls found Sanders led Clinton by nine points in New Hampshire, and was one ahead in Iowa.

Not only did Biden appear to be gaining on Clinton, but he also enjoyed a 10% higher favorability rating compared to Clinton. Biden’s favorability rating was 80%, versus Clinton’s 70%. Sanders had a 56% favorability rating. President Obama’s is 50%.

The group was also asked about their opinions of Pope Francis, ahead of the pontiff’s journey to the United States this week.

A large majority believed it was positive for the pope to forgive women who have had abortions (79%) and said the pope should do more “to harness the energy and compassion” of women (84%).

The telephone poll was conducted between 18 and 21 September among 1,001 Democrats or Democratic-leaning voters.

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