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Poll: Bernie Sanders Leads Rivals by 12% Nationwide; Mike Bloomberg Qualifies for Nevada Debate

RENO, Nevada — A new poll shows Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) surging to a double-digit lead over his rivals nationwide — and billionaire Mike Bloomberg qualifying for Wednesday’s Democrat debate.

The National Public Radio/Marist/PBS Newshour poll, released early Tuesday morning, shows Sanders with 31%, far ahead of Bloomberg, who is in second place with 19%. The poll was conducted Feb. 13-16 — i.e. after the New Hampshire primary — on land lines and mobile phones among a sample of 527 “Democrats and Democratic leaning independents” registered to vote, with a 5.4% margin of error.

The poll shows that Sanders is clearly the frontrunner — and it is also the fourth qualifying national poll to show Bloomberg at or above 10%, meaning that he will qualify for Wednesday’s debate in Las Vegas ahead of the 11:59 p.m. ET deadline Tuesday night, though he is not on the ballot in Saturday’s Nevada caucuses. Fellow billionaire Tom Steyer, who is at 2% in seventh place in the poll, has met the polling threshold required by the Democratic National Committee (DNC), but not yet in “qualifying” polls.

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After Sanders with 31%, and Bloomberg with 19%, come former Vice President Joe Biden in third, with 15%; Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in fourth, with 12%; Sen. Amy Klobuchar in fifth, with 9%; and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg in sisxth, with 8%. Buttigieg currently leads in terms of delegates after finishing second in total votes in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

The debate will be held Wednesday evening from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. ET (6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. PT) at the Paris Theater in Las Vegas, hosted by MSNBC. Six candidates have qualified thus far.

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