Texan Beto O’Rourke has slipped ahead of Joe Biden to become the most popular choice among Democrats to challenge Donald Trump in 2020, according to a new poll.

Even though the 46-year-old congressman narrowly last month failed to win the senate seat of Republican Ted Cruz, his impassioned and charismatic campaign captured the imagination of many, especially progressives.

NBC said an early straw poll of members of the progressive group MoveOn.org showed Mr O’Rourke had narrow passed the former vice president to come the number one choice for presidential candidate in two years.

Mr O’Rourke came in first with 15.6 per cent of votes, followed by Mr Biden at 14.9 per cent and senator Bernie Sanders 13.1 per cent. In 2016, Mr Sanders, 77, received the endorsement of MoveOn.

In a survey conducted in October, Mr Biden, 76, was the first choice.

The MoveOn poll also found that as many as 18 per cent of people had not decided their preferred candidate.

The three men were followed by California senator Kamala Harris on 10 per cent support, and senator Elizabeth Warren with 6.4 per cent.

“While the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president remains wide open and MoveOn’s endorsement is up for grabs, MoveOn members and progressives across the country are clear: They’re looking for candidates who will rally voters around a progressive vision of building a country where every American can thrive — whether we’re white, black, or brown, rich or poor,” said Ilya Sheyman, executive director of MoveOn Political Action.

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