By Daniel White
February 17, 2016

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has become a bigger threat to front runner Hillary Clinton’s chances of being the Democratic nominee, according to a survey released Wednesday of likely national voters.

Sanders does better than Clinton in head-to-head matchups with Republican presidential candidates in a USA Today/Suffolk University survey of likely voters. The self-proclaimed Democratic socialist is also within 10 points of Clinton’s lead nationally — 50% to 40% — though the poll’s margin of error was +/- 5.5%.

Among Republicans, Donald Trump continues to lead, with 35% of those surveyed saying he was their choice for the nomination. Behind him is a battle for second place between Senator Ted Cruz (20%) and Senator Marco Rubio (17%), making it a three-man race for the nomination. When asked who their second choice would be, those surveyed picked Rubio over any other candidate.

The other Republicans — Ohio Governor John Kasich (7%), former Florida governor Jeb Bush (6%) and Ben Carson (4%) — all trailed in the single digits.

Both parties enter early voting contests on Saturday, with Republicans in the South Carolina primary and Democrats in the Nevada caucus — both states with more pronounced minority populations than Iowa or New Hampshire.

Clinton and Sanders were close among Hispanic voters, polling at 51% and 43%, respectively — which could be important heading into the Latino stronghold of Nevada. The survey was conducted over the phone with 1,000 likely voters from across the country between Feb. 11 and 15.

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