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Warren, Sanders beat Hillary in poll of liberal group's members

The former secretary of state came in third, behind Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth -- the clear favorite -- and Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The members of the progressive group that grew out of Howard Dean’s presidential campaign are not exactly ready for Hillary.

Democracy for America (DFA) has been asking their roughly one million members whom the group should support in a hypothetical 2016 Democratic presidential primary. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was the clear favorite, with support from 42% of respondents, according to results shared with msnbc ahead of their release later Thursday.

"If you only listened to Washington pundits, you'd wonder why Democrats are even bothering holding primaries and caucuses."'

In second place was Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is seriously considering a presidential bid as a Democrat, with 24%. Just one point behind was former secretary of State Hillary Clinton at 23%. 

From there, the numbers drop off significantly, with former Labor Secretary Robert Reich -- who told msnbc he is not interested in running -- capturing 3% of the vote, and Vice President Joe Biden getting just 2%. Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, who announced an exploratory committee Thursday, received less than 1% of the vote.

"If you only listened to Washington pundits, you'd wonder why Democrats are even bothering holding primaries and caucuses, but the results from our first 2016 presidential pulse poll indicates that progressives want to hear from many candidates during the nomination process and that the fight for the support of Democrats' grassroots base is far from over,” said Democracy for America Executive Director Charles Chamberlain.

Warren has repeatedly said she is not running for president and there is no evidence thus far that she’s interested. Sanders is seriously considering a run, and recently hired a top Democratic strategist to help plan a bid. 

DFA grew out of the 2004 presidential campaign of Howard Dean, who has said publicly that he’s supporting Hillary Clinton in 2016. The poll is not scientific and should be read with plenty of caveats, but offers the temperature of one group of committed progressive activists. For instance, Ready for Warren, a super PAC which is trying to draft the senator into the race, has been sending emails to supporters this week urging them to vote for Warren in the DFA poll.

Larger public opinion surveys show Clinton in a dominant position in the likely 2016 Democratic presidential field, even among progressives, with interest in Warren so far confined mostly to more educated Democrats.

Also on Thursday,, another major liberal group, called on Clinton to come out against the Keystone XL pipeline. She has so far dodged questions on the controversial pipeline, which would carry tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

"Hillary Clinton's refusal to take a position raises the possibility that she is worse on climate change than 80 percent of the incoming Senate’s Democratic caucus. If she’s considering a run for President and wants the support of the party’s base, Hillary Clinton should clarify that she opposes this dirty and dangerous pipeline," said the group's Executive Director Anna Galland.