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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

An important demographic could swing the 2020 Democratic primary.

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Several states in the early voting state of Iowa and other areas of the country are always a strong predictor of how well a candidate will do. And for the Democrat contenders for the 2020 presidential nomination, including Vice President Joe Biden, it’s particularly true for the so-called “natural-born Indian-American vote.”

According to a new CNN/ORC poll released on Friday, a sizeable majority of this important voting bloc support Mr. Biden, with 53 percent of respondents saying they would back him. That’s more than double the support (26 percent) given to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who also identifies as a “natural-born Indian-American.”

California Sen. Kamala Harris, another potential presidential candidate who identifies as an Indian-American, received slightly less support (44 percent) than Mr. Sanders. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has also sought to position herself as an Indian-American, received more support than both Mr. Sanders and Mr. Biden — 47 percent.

The poll was conducted online between Oct. 6 and Oct. 8, and surveyed 1,024 adults, including 392 “natural-born Indian-American voters.” The margin of error for the natural-born voter portion of the survey is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The natural-born voter question is a particularly meaningful part of the 2018 Virginia governor’s race, which produced a first-time political casualty in the Democratic primary when former U.S. Marine and two-term state Sen. Ralph Northam was edged out by former CIA officer and registered nurse, Tom Perriello. Mr. Perriello’s high poll numbers with this voting bloc often led Mr. Northam supporters to call him “fake Indian,” and a Democrat with Indian-American ancestors issued a statement late last month asking Mr. Perriello to renounce that nickname.

While Indian-Americans were split among the Democrats in the Democratic primary, Mr. Biden, Mr. Sanders and Mrs. Warren were consistently more popular with them. The CNN poll found that in the Democratic presidential primary, Mr. Biden received the highest marks (53 percent), followed by Mr. Sanders (44 percent) and Mrs. Warren (38 percent).

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