A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is in a virtual tie for second place but excluded her from head-to-head polling.
The poll shows Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders leading the pack with 27% while Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg are all at 13-15%.
Despite placing in a virtual tie for second and polling ahead of Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who is at 7%, the poll excluded her from head-to-head polling with other Democrats and Trump.
The poll shows Biden, Sanders, Bloomberg, and Klobuchar (but not Buttigieg) leading Trump in battleground states.
Pollster Pete Hart told BuzzFeed News that there was only “space and time” for five candidates.
"Amy Klobuchar was selected as the fifth candidate. We have tested Warren earlier, and I suspect she will be part of the next testing," Hart said. "We want to know where the [voters] 'start' and what groups are moving toward them as they gain momentum."
A new Emerson poll similarly excluded Warren from their head-to-head polling against Trump.
Is Warren being erased?
Warren supporters said the polls only fuel their suspicions that the media is trying to “erase” her candidacy.
"She's beating both Biden and Bloomberg in delegates. Yet she's the one who keeps getting left out,” said activist Adam Best.
The Warren erasure narrative predates the latest polls.
"From the moment cable networks switched from her caucus night rally speech to Biden's, Warren has been virtually erased," The Nation's Joan Walsh said after the Iowa caucuses. "Cable news panels mention Warren only in passing, if at all… This despite the fact that Warren clearly beat the Democratic front-runner, Biden, and outperformed her numbers."
But erasure isn’t hurting Bernie:
Sanders supporters had also complained that their candidate was being “erased” by the media but that has not stopped the Vermont senator from surging to first place.
"It's been a struggle to change the tone and the tenor of the coverage that we receive," Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir told Vanity Fair. "They've been among the last to acknowledge that Bernie Sanders's path to the nomination is real, and even when it's become real, they frequently discount it."
Even Fox News is “more fair than MSNBC,” he said.
"That's saying something," he said. "Fox is often yelling about Bernie Sanders's socialism, but they're still giving our campaign the opportunity to make our case in a fair manner, unlike MSNBC, which has credibility with the left and is constantly undermining the Bernie Sanders campaign."