New polls show Biden leading Sanders in Ohio, Illinois and Florida

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(NEXSTAR) – Joe Biden is set to continue his streak of Democratic primary victories according to three new polls that show him with healthy leads before voters head to the polls in Ohio, Illinois and Florida on Tuesday, March 17.

A Nexstar/Emerson College poll (MOE: +/- 4.5%) released Thursday has the former vice president ahead of Sanders in Ohio 56.8% to 34.9%.

The poll gathered data from 464 people, 42.3% of whom were men. The participants were 74.6% white, 20.7% black or African-American 1.5% Asian, 1.5% Hispanic or Latino and 1.5% other or multiple races.

Despite the apparent commanding lead, over one fifth of those polled said there was a chance they might change their mind and vote for someone else (22.1%).

Both the Sanders and Biden campaigns decided to cancel events in Cleveland earlier this week over coronavirus concerns. On Thursday, Biden addressed a crowd in his hometown of Delaware, blasting President Trump’s efforts to handle the coronavirus outbreak, according to the Associated Press.

The 78-year-old senator from Vermont spoke shortly afterward, calling the administration “largely incompetent” and adding, “If there ever was a time in the modern history of our country when we were all in this together, this is the moment.”

In Illinois, a state Sanders narrowly lost to Hillary Clinton in 2016, 56.6% of the 567 people polled said they would vote for Biden, with 36.2% backing Sanders, according to another Nexstar/Emerson College poll (MOE: +/- 4.1%).

Nearly 55% of the 567 people polled were women, with 56.3% white or caucasian, 29.1% black or African-American, 9.1% Hispanic or Latino, 2.7% Asian and 2.7 other or multiple races.

Of all three states, Sanders came closest to beating Clinton in Illinois, taking 77 delegates to Clinton’s 79.

In Florida, Hillary Clinton beat Sanders easily in 2016, winning 64.4% to 33.3%.

Thursday’s Florida Nexstar/Emerson College poll (MOE: +/- 4.7%) projects those numbers to be potentially worse in 2020. Of the 434 people polled, 64.8% said they would vote for the 77-year-old Biden, with just 26.7% for Sanders.

Fifty-six percent of those polled were women, with 47.5% white, 21.5% Hispanic or Latino, 26.5% black or African-American, 1.8% Asian and 2.7% other or multiple races. Forty-three percent said they make less than $50,000 a year, with 44.4% making $50,000-$100,000 and 12.5% making more than $100,000.

Biden saw greater support from women while the Vermont senator’s potential voters skewed male.

The poll also found that 14.5% said their mind was not made up and there is a chance they would vote for someone else.

After a recent string of resounding victories, Biden has amassed 867 delegates to Sanders’ 711. With 1,991 needed to win the nomination, Sanders told supporters Tuesday that he would not drop out of the race, saying, “While our campaign has won the ideological debate, we are losing the debate over electability.”

Sanders’ mathematical path to the nomination has been shrinking steadily, and, as it stands, he would need to win 57 percent of the delegates left to reach 1991, the Associated Press reports.

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