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Poll: Buttigieg slips into fourth place as Biden widens lead

Mayor Pete Buttigieg slipped into fourth place in a new survey from Quinnipiac University Poll released Tuesday, a sharp drop for the South Bend, Ind., mayor who less than a month ago surged into the second-place spot behind former Vice President Joe Biden.

Biden leads the pack in the latest poll with 29 percent support — up from 24 percent in November. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), meanwhile, are neck-and-neck, scoring 17 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

Buttigieg’s decline — from garnering the support of 16 percent of respondents last month to just 9 percent this month — puts him in fourth place, closer to the middle-tier of the Democratic presidential field than the three top-tier contenders. In fifth place is former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at 5 percent and in sixth is former tech executive Andrew Yang at 4 percent, the poll shows.

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The poll is welcome news for the primary field’s top tier, giving Biden his first double-digit lead in a Quinnipiac survey since August and showing Sanders with his highest level of support since a Quinnipiac poll in June. 

Warren’s support is similar to the 14 percent she scored in last month’s survey, suggesting that her polling numbers may be stabilizing after a stark 14-point drop between October and November, Quinnipiac polling data shows. 

The poll also brings good news for Yang, giving him the fourth and final survey he needed to qualify for the next Democratic presidential debate on Dec. 19. That makes him the seventh active candidate to make the debate. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) had qualified for the debate, but forfeited her place on stage when she suspended her campaign last week.

In hypothetical head-to-head match-ups, six Democratic presidential contenders appear on track to defeat President Trump in 2020. 

Biden performs the best in that metric, with 51 percent of registered voters saying they would vote for him compared to 42 percent who said they planned on casting their ballots for Trump. Sanders isn’t far behind. Fifty-one percent said they would choose him compared to 43 percent who said they would vote for the incumbent.

Warren, Bloomberg, Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) all bested Trump in hypothetical match-ups as well, according to the Quinnipiac poll.

The Quinnipiac University poll surveyed 1,553 registered voters, including 665 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independent voters, from Dec. 4-9. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points for the full sample and plus or minus 3.8 points for the Democratic and Democratic-leaning respondents.

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