Biden Leads, But Warren and Buttigieg Gain Ground in New Iowa Poll – Rolling Stone
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Biden Leads, But Warren and Buttigieg Gain Ground in New Iowa Poll

Although the former vice president leads the poll in caucus state, his competitors are also shoring up support

Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg

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Former vice president Joe Biden still leads the pack of Democratic contenders for their party’s nomination in a new CNN/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll of likely Iowa caucus participants, but Biden’s opponents are also gaining ground.

Twenty-four percent of respondents said they support Biden, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) comes in second with 16 percent. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg clocked in with 15 and 14 percent, respectively. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) completes the top five with seven percent supporting.

But, because Iowa is a caucus state, participants’ second place choice is also relevant here. When first and second choices are combined, Warren surpasses Sanders for second place. This is important because during a caucus, if caucus-goers’ first choice doesn’t have enough votes to win, they will shift their support to their second choice candidate.

This is the first Iowa poll that has been conducted since Biden entered the race. His support in that state is lower than where he has polled nationally, usually around 30 percent. The results of the poll combine likely in-person attendees and likely virtual caucus-goers.

Former congressman Beto O’Rourke and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) broke through slightly with two percent support. The rest of the field of candidates received less than one percent.
According to J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll, it’s relatively early in the cycle to see committed voters like this. “We’re starting to see the people who are planning to caucus start to solidify,” she said. “There’s a lot more commitment than we normally see this early. And some of these candidates who’ve been under the radar start to surface and compete with Joe Biden.”

Interestingly, Warren had the highest favorability rating, 71 percent. And Warren and Buttigieg saw the biggest gains—Warren is +6 while Buttigieg is +13—since the last poll.

The twist in the upcoming caucus will be virtual versus in-person participation. This time, voters will have a choice in how they participate, but they will be weighed differently. In-person caucus-goers will count for 90 percent of delegates, while virtual caucus-goers (who are more likely to be young voters) will only count for 10 percent.

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