Buttigieg Jumps to First Place in Latest Iowa Poll

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg speaks at the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/John Locher)

DES MOINES, Iowa (CN) — Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg surged to the head of the pack among Iowa Democratic voters who are likely to attend their precinct caucus next February, according to a poll released Tuesday by Monmouth University, gaining 14 points since August and moving ahead of previous leader Joe Biden.

The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was the top choice of 22% of Iowa Democrats surveyed Nov. 7-11, compared to just 8% in August.

He gained support among every major demographic group since late summer, the poll shows, including moderates, conservatives and liberals.

“Buttigieg is emerging as a top pick for a wide variety of Iowa Democrats,” Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said in a statement issued by the New Jersey university. “While he has made nominally bigger gains among older caucusgoers, you really can’t pigeonhole his support to one particular group. He is doing well with voters regardless of education or ideology.”

Former Vice President Biden was ranked second in the poll, backed by 19% of those interviewed, which was down from 26% in August. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren was the top pick of 18% of respondents, down 2 points since the summer. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders saw an 8-point boost since August, now polling at 13% among Iowans.

Of the remaining 13 Democratic candidates, Minnesota Senator Amy Kobuchar polled at 5% – up 2 percentage points from August – while California Senator Kamala Harris, former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer and entrepreneur Andrew Yang were all at 3%. The rest of the field earned the support of 2% or less of those polled.

With less than three months remaining before the Iowa caucuses, these numbers are subject to change. Less than a third of those polled said they have firmly decided on a candidate to support at this point in the campaign, while 37%  said they were open to changing their minds.

If their favorite candidate did not have enough support to remain viable at their precinct caucus, most of those polled said their second choice would be Warren (17%), Buttigieg (15%), Sanders (12%) and Biden (10%), with the rest of the field in single digits.

Iowa Democrats who were surveyed apparently weren’t ready to jump on board for former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, should he officially join the race. He was favored by less that 1% of those polled last week. Bloomberg’s adviser has indicated he would skip early voting states like Iowa and focus on Super Tuesday contests instead.

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