Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg are tied for first place among Virginia primary voters, according to a poll conducted by Monmouth University.
Bloomberg and Sanders are neck and neck ahead of the pack, tied with 22% each. Joe Biden (18%), Pete Buttigieg (11%) and Amy Klobuchar (9%) grab the next spots, and Elizabeth Warren trails behind with just 5% support.
Bloomberg's rise among Virginians' esteem comes just as he qualifies for his first appearance in a Democratic presidential primary debate, after receiving 19% support from a national poll.
Bloomberg has also dwarfed the other candidates when it comes to ad spending for his campaign. According to data from Kantar media and CNN reporter David Wright, Bloomberg has spent over $400 million in ad spending on his campaign while rival Sanders has spent a tenth of that amount.
According to the poll, 62% of likely Virginia Democratic primary voters are more concerned about beating President Donald Trump than any other policy issue. And while the majority (67%) are looking for a candidate who can unite the country, as opposed to one who can bring change (27%), many remain undecided about who can deliver those results.
Only 25% of likely primary voters are firmly decided on a candidate while 62% remain open to backing a different candidate.
“Virginia provides an interesting test on Super Tuesday. A wide range of candidates appeal to voters here, and it is very much a jump ball at this point,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
The Monmouth poll also reveals Sanders' victory in New Hampshire and Buttigieg's win in Iowa have had little sway on Virginians' decisions about who to support in the primary. Of the respondents, 81% said the prior results didn't influence them at all, and a further 11% said that while the results made them reconsider, ultimately, they didn't change their views.
Monmouth University also conducted a poll for the 2016 Virginia primary, forecasting a win for Hillary Clinton (60%) over Bernie Sanders (33%) with a 5.6 margin of error. The Virginia primary results were within Monmouth's prediction range, with Clinton winning 64.3% of the popular vote and 62 delegates and Sanders winning 35.2% and 33 delegates.
The Monmouth poll results are based on 400 voters who are likely to vote in the Democratic presidential primary March 3. The survey is weighted for demographics based on state voter registration list information and U.S. Census information and has a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.