Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., waves during a rally at Eastern Michigan University, Feb. 15, 2016, in Ypsilanti, Mich.
Photo by Evan Vucci/AP

Sanders cuts into Clinton’s national lead: Poll

Updated

Bernie Sanders has cut Hillary Clinton’s national polling lead in half after the results of the first two Democratic nominating contests, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Still, Clinton holds a double-digit advantage over Sanders, with the next race taking place in Nevada on Saturday and with the two candidates participating in a town hall in Las Vegas on Thursday night beginning at 9:00 pm ET on MSNBC.

Fifty-three percent of Democratic primary voters say they back the former secretary of state, while 42 percent of them support the Vermont senator.

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But Clinton’s 11-point lead over Sanders is down from her 25-point edge a month ago — before Sanders’ blowout victory in New Hampshire and narrow loss in Iowa.

In the new poll, Clinton leads Sanders among minorities (62 percent to 33 percent), women (58 percent to 39 percent), primary voters ages 50 and older (62 percent to 31 percent) and self-identified Democrats (58 percent to 37 percent).

Sanders, meanwhile, holds the edge among white men (54 percent to 41 percent), independents (61 percent to 33 percent) and primary voters under the age of 50 (57 percent to 40 percent).

In the poll, 73 percent of Democratic primary voters consider themselves “progressives,” and 68 percent say that label applies to Sanders and 65 percent say it applies to Clinton.

Asked what concerns them the most about Clinton, 22 percent of Democratic primary voters cite her ties to Wall Street and speaking fees, while just 7 percent believe it’s the controversy over her private email server; 66 percent say neither issue is a major concern.

Asked what concerns them the most about Sanders, 26 percent say it’s his lack of foreign-policy experience, 23 percent say it’s his policy proposals that are out of the mainstream (and that make it difficult for him to beat the Republican nominee) and 47 percent say neither is a major concern.

When the same question was asked to GOP primary voters of the major Republican presidential candidates, 41 percent cited Donald Trump’s temperament and another 11 percent said it was his lack of Republican/conservative credentials; 22 percent said they were concerned about Ted Cruz’s inability to work with colleagues and another 12 percent said his ideas are out of the mainstream; and 29 percent said Marco Rubio is too weak on immigration and another 22 percent said he’s too scripted and hasn’t accomplished enough.  

The NBC/WSJ poll was conducted Feb. 14-16 of 800 registered voters (margin of error of plus-minus 3.5 percentage points), 400 Democratic primary voters (plus-minus 4.9 percentage points) and 400 GOP primary voters (plus-minus 4.9 percentage points).

Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Polling

Sanders cuts into Clinton's national lead: Poll

Updated