U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign event in November 2019 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Photo by Matt Johnson/via Flickr Creative Commons.

Sen. Bernie Sanders is leading the Maryland Democratic primary race for president by a narrow margin in a new poll from Goucher College.

The poll, which was conducted from Feb. 13-19, found that 24 percent of likely Maryland Democratic voters said they would vote for Sanders, followed by 18 percent for former Vice President Joe Biden and 16 percent for billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

After that, 7 percent of likely voters said they would vote for former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 6 percent for Sen. Amy Klobuchar and 6 percent for Sen. Elizabeth Warren. All other candidates earned the support of fewer than 1 percent of likely voters, while 18 percent either have no preference or are undecided.

Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College, noted that there has been a “significant change” in voters’ preferences in the Maryland Democratic primary race since Goucher College’s September 2019 poll.

The September poll had Biden leading the pack in the Maryland Democratic primary with support from 33 percent of likely voters, followed by Warren with 21 percent and Sanders with 10 percent. Sen. Kamala Harris, who has since suspended her presidential campaign, earned 6 percent support in that poll while Buttigieg earned 5 percent. All other candidates earned the support of 1 percent or fewer of voters, and 15 percent said they had no preference or were undecided.

Kromer said the most recent Goucher poll reflects national trends, with Sanders gaining support while Biden and Warren have dropped back.

After a late entry, Bloomberg, who announced his candidacy in November, has built support among Maryland Democrats.

Kromer said there should be more clarity after the results of primary elections and caucuses in Super Tuesday states, a group of states that vote on March 3 and make up 40 percent of the U.S. population.

“We’ll have a better picture after Super Tuesday, but it’s certainly possible that the Maryland primary will be hotly contested rather than inconsequential to the outcome of the primary,” she said.

Marylanders will vote in their primary election on April 28.

Sanders is coming off a victory in the Nevada caucus Saturday, where Biden earned second place and Buttigieg found himself in third.

Before Super Tuesday, voters in South Carolina’s primary will cast their ballots on Feb. 29. A new NBC News/Marist poll has Biden winning the support of 27 percent of South Carolina Democratic likely voters, and Sanders earning 23 percent.

Of the Maryland Democratic likely voters that Goucher polled, 74 percent held a favorable view toward Sanders. 

Despite low support among voters who actually plan to cast their ballots, Warren stands in second, with 67 percent of likely voters saying they held a favorable view toward her. She is followed by Biden with 64 percent and Buttigieg with 61 percent.

Bloomberg and Klobuchar hovered above the 50 percent mark, while a greater percentage of likely voters had an unfavorable view than a favorable view toward billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

All of the Democratic candidates won Maryland in head-to-head matchups with President Donald Trump in the Goucher poll.

In Maryland, 62 percent of likely voters disapprove of the job Trump is doing as President of the United States, while 31 percent approve. Meanwhile, 79 percent disapprove of the job Congress is doing, with just 13 percent of residents approving.

Of the Democratic voters who were polled, 47 percent said it is more important to find a candidate who is likely to defeat Trump, while 39 percent said finding a candidate whose positions on the issues most closely align with theirs is most important.

The poll interviewed 929 Maryland adults by phone to identify 718 likely voters. Of those, 371 were likely Democratic voters. 

The overall margin of error was plus or minus 3.6 percentage points, while the margin of error for the poll’s Democratic primary portion was plus or minus 5.1 percentage points.

Goucher released the results of another poll Monday which focused on Maryland issues, including education funding and sports gambling.

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at marcus@baltimorefishbowl.com...