Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren is now beating Sen. Bernie Sanders in recent polls, the Vermont social-described socialist contends because of her gender.

“We are running against a lot of problems,” Sanders told CNN host Chris Cuomo. “There are a certain number of people who would like to see a woman elected and I understand that. There are people who would like to see somebody who was younger, and I understand that also. There are a lot of factors there.”

Despite the trajectory of polls, Sanders insisted he is the only candidate who could soundly defeat Trump.

“Elizabeth is a friend of mine. I think she’s running a good campaign, but at the end of the day, Chris, whether it’s Biden or Warren – Elizabeth Warren – or anybody else, what I believe is that in fact I am the strongest to defeat Donald Trump and I think some of the polling shows that,” he said.

The Vermont socialist has previously railed against the idea of voters favoring a candidate solely based on their race or gender.

“It’s not good enough for somebody to say, ‘Hey, I’m a Latina vote for me.’ That is not good enough for somebody to say, ‘I’m a woman, vote for me.’ No, that is not good enough,” he exclaimed in November 2016. “What we need is a woman who has the guts to stand up to Wall Street, to the insurance companies, to the drug companies, to the fossil fuel industries.”  

Cuomo then asked Sanders about a tweet in which he appeared  disparage Warren in response to a Politico report that centrists are “coming around” to her campaign.

“The cat is out of the bag,” Sanders tweeted. “The corporate wing of the Democratic Party is publicly ‘anybody but Bernie.’ They know our progressive agenda of Medicare for All, breaking up big banks, taking on drug companies and raising wages is the real threat to the billionaire class.

Sanders insisted, the tweet which was a direct response to a report about Warren, that his jab “was not about Elizabeth Warren at all.”

“Elizabeth is a friend of mine and we’re going to run, I hope, an issues-oriented campaign,” Sanders said.

According to Real Clear Politics, Warren has increased by 11.9% in average of national polls.  Sanders remains in second place with 15% while former Vice President Joe Biden maintains his lead, currently averaging 31.9%.

While Biden holds commanding lead in nearly every primary poll since entering the race in April, President Donald Trump’s pollster predicts that Warren would soon lead the Democratic primary field.

Warren’s popularity will rise as Biden’s declines by October, Trump pollster Tony Fabrizio estimates.

Amid ongoing criticism for his inappropriate groping of women and young girls, Biden’s opponents are lambasting the former veep for his recent reversal on public funding for abortion. While all of the Democratic presidential candidates are in favor of reparations for African Americans, Biden is on record rejecting reparation proposals.  

Warren polls second place behind Biden in the early voting states of Nevada and California.