Bernie Sanders overtakes Hillary Clinton for first time ever in new national poll

It's a Fox News poll

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published February 19, 2016 1:48PM (EST)

Bernie Sanders   (AP/John Minchillo)
Bernie Sanders (AP/John Minchillo)

Polling out of the caucus state of Nevada is remarkably lacking and unreliable, Hillary Clinton holds an average lead of over 20 points in the next primary state, South Carolina, as well as in the last three polls out of the Palmetto State -- but in at least one national poll, Bernie Sanders has surged past his Democratic presidential rival to grab the number one spot for the very first time.

A new Fox News poll of the Democratic presidential race released Thursday shows Sanders ahead by three points with 47 percent support to Clinton’s 44 percent nationally. Clinton's support in the poll has dropped five points in a month, since Fox's last poll in January, while Sanders has climbed 10 points.

As Fox points out, Clinton led Sanders in their poll by as many as 46 points last summer, and had a 22-point lead as recently as two months ago. The Fox News poll is the first time that Sanders has overtaken Clinton in any national poll and follows a Quinnipiac poll released this week that showed Clinton leading by only two percentage points. Still, three other national polls released in the past week have Clinton ahead by 8 to 11 percentage points and Clinton leads in the Real Clear Politics average by 5.6 percent.

The two Democratic candidates next face off on Saturday in the Nevada caucuses. The first diverse Democratic electorate of the primary season was noticeably ignored by pollsters in recent months, last polled by CNN in October and Gravitas in December. Clinton's lead in the CNN poll dropped from 16 percentage points in October to just one point in last week, while in the Gravitas poll, Clinton's lead went from 23 points in December to only six points in February.

The Sanders campaign has also outspent the Clinton campaign by a 2-to-1 margin in Nevada. Sanders has spent $2.93 million, while Clinton has spent $1.46 million on campaign ads as of last week, according to data filed with the Federal Communications Commission.

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By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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2016 Democratic Primary Aol_on Bernie Sanders Hillary Clinton Poll