(CN) – Bernie Sanders is the front runner not only in the Democratic Primary, but in the 2020 general election according to a Fox News Poll published Thursday.
Although the margin is slim, this is the first Fox News national poll to place the progressive Vermont senator ahead of former Vice President Joe Biden.
“You see the gradual descent of Joe Biden, the question is does he do a comeback as the oldest comeback kid we’ve had?” said Dr. Carl Luna, professor of political science in San Diego Mesa College.
“Sanders resonates very strongly with the strong progressive element and he’s taking away all the thunder for Elizabeth Warren,” Luna added. “The other question is how much does the barrage, the tens of millions that Michael Bloomberg has spent paint him as the alternative to Biden, [Amy] Klobuchar or [Pete] Buttigieg?”
Thirty-one percent of voters polled said they wanted to see Sanders as the Democratic Party’s nominee, up 8 points from January. By comparison, 18% said they wanted Biden to get the nod, down 8 points from this time last month.
If the election were held today in equal numbers—49% of voters polled—said they would vote for either Biden or Bernie over Trump.
Although a majority of voters said they would choose any one of the Democratic candidates over Trump—whether Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren or billionaire Mike Bloomberg—a majority of voters also said they expect Trump to be reelected.
Only 42% of voters polled said they would vote to reelect Trump and 45% of people said they would vote for any Democrat running against Trump. Nevertheless, 56% of voters think Trump is likely to get a second term.
“Conditions right now are pretty favorable for an incumbent: strong economy, we’re not at war with anyone right now—although a lot of Americans are dying—those are situations that are favorable to an incumbent,” said Dr. Seth Masket, director of the Center on American Politics at the University of Denver. “Democrats are right to be concerned that he could win, because incumbents usually win in this sort of environment.”
Data was gathered from 1,000 registered voters on landlines from Feb. 23 to 26 by Beacon Research and Shaw & Company Research. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
While half of the people polled identify as Democrats, 41% were Republicans and 9% identified as other.
South Carolina is holding its primaries on Saturday. Fourteen other states and overseas Democrats will cast their primary ballots on Tuesday. However the results playout, a majority of voters say they are extremely interested in the election and motivated to vote.