As level of angst among Texas Democrats rises, Sanders and Biden remain neck in neck in new poll

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A newly released Progress Texas poll shows Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden tied in Texas. It also shows that if Mike Bloomberg weren’t in the race, Biden would be leading Sanders by several percentage points with likely Democratic primary voters. 

The survey asked respondents who their first choice is with Bloomberg in the race and without him in the race. 

Also of note in the poll: Sen. Elizabeth Warren had the strongest approval rating of any of the candidates and is the second choice for most voters, although other leading candidates are not far off.

As Bernie surges, Texas Biden backers are concerned

With Sanders picking up momentum and rising in national polls, some Texas Democrats are concerned about the Vermont Senator’s impact on down-ballot races in the state Those concerns were highlighted in a recent Texas Tribune article that interviewed multiple donors and lawmakers in the state.

“Any chance of winning the [U.S.] Senate is at risk, and back in Texas, any chance of winning back the [state] House is at risk,” U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia, a Biden supporter, told the Tribune. 

“Nonpartisan observers are placing the chances of taking back the state House at 50/50 or better. If Bernie is at the top of the ticket, I think it throws that entire formula into question,” State Rep. Rafael Anchía, another Biden backer, told the Tribune. 

There is real– and justified– anger in the country about the American political system: it’s rigged, it’s phony and little gets accomplished. Bernie, like Trump in 2016, effectively channels that anger. And anger is a powerful motivator in politics. 

But the lingering question remains if a self-described democratic socialist can win against Trump nationally or in Texas. Another question: Does Sanders at the top of the ticket help or hurt Democrats in a purple state like Texas running in the U.S. Senate, competitive congressional, and the all-important Texas House races?

Clearly, Team Sanders is making the positive argument.

“Texas isn’t a red state, it’s a nonvoting state,” Kolby Lee, a Sanders spokesman, told the Tribune. “If we’re serious about flipping the state House and winning in battleground congressional districts, we need a nominee who will inspire grassroots enthusiasm and turn out voters on Election Day.”

Bottom Line ahead of Tuesday

According to several polls over the past few weeks, Sanders and Biden remain Democrats’ top choices in the Lone Star State. The race remains fluid.

“Biden can still win Texas,” said one progressive strategist. “Bernie is still only polling at a quarter of the Texas vote, which is less than the one-third he got against [Hillary] Clinton last time. I suspect a win in South Carolina on Saturday will give Biden momentum.”

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

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