Democratic Candidates Threaten to Boycott Upcoming Debate Amid Venue's Labor Dispute

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The 6th Democratic debate is December 17, but don't hold your breath.

According to a Slate analysis, the Harvard graduate, Rhodes Scholar and McKinsey veteran-who's also an actual veteran-has become more popular as prospective voters get to know him, especially in Iowa and New Hampshire, key states in the Democratic primaries.

While such numbers are helpful in taking the political temperature of the moment, hypothetical matchups taken almost a year before the election - and well before the Democrats choose their 2020 standard-bearer - are hardly considered a reliable barometer of the eventual general election outcome. They have indicated that they will picket outside the PBS NewsHour/POLITICO debate on December 17, and the candidates all refuse to cross the picket line. The Iowa caucuses formally usher in the Democratic contest in just 46 days.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg stays in fourth with 8 percent, also losing some ground.

The same polling shows a continually growing gap between those candidates and the rest of the contenders - with Yang next at 5% and Klobuchar, Bloomberg and Booker at 4%. That would be the bill's author, Sanders, who is nothing if not consistent.

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Jess O'Connell with Buttigieg's campaign said the candidate will "be fully prepared to have an open and honest conversation about where there are contrast between us and the other candidates". Buttigieg has been particularly aggressive in his attacks on Warren, recognizing that his best shot is to chip away at her existing base of college-educated white voters by making them fear that she's too radical to beat Trump in November.

And by a 49 percent to 42 percent margin, they say it's more important to have a nominee who will move in a different direction from former President Obama's policies.

Sanders' favorable rating of 74% beats Biden's 67% and Warren's 67%. But the stakes are not small in the broader tug-of-war between passionate progressives and pragmatic moderates who are battling over the party's positions on core issues like health care, immigration, education and trade. Some - like "Medicare for All" as a replacement for private health insurance, decriminalizing illegal border crossings and a universal basic income of $1,000 a month - provide warnings for the party, as none is able to win support from a majority of the overall electorate. The billionaire entered the race at the eleventh hour and has since poured more than $47.6 million of his own money into his campaign.

But Republicans give majority support only for gun background checks and stricter prescription drug regulations. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

"She's still in pretty good standing and she's still benefiting from the fact that a lot of primary voters view her as likable and warm and she's a lot of voters' second choice", said former Hillary Clinton campaign adviser Brian Fallon.

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