Buttigieg Sees Surprise Surge in Support Among Iowa Voters

(CN) – Early primary voters in Iowa are taking a shine to Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, who leaped over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for third place according to a new poll Monday – placing the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, behind Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Pete Buttigieg talks with visitors to the Hawkeye Area Labor Council Labor Day Picnic in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (AP photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Buttigieg surged to 17% in the poll conducted by the Washington-based public relations firm Firehouse Strategies and data consulting firm 0ptimus. Warren continued to build on her lead with Iowa voters, securing 25% over Biden’s 22% while Sanders dropped to fourth with just 5%.

Despite a margin of error of 3.6%, the poll illustrates a dynamic turn with voters favoring a candidate outside the top three who have led in the polls so far. In New Hampshire – also an early voting state – Warren led with 25% support while Biden saw 18% and Sanders came in third with just 9%.

The poll was conducted between Oct. 8 and Oct. 10 while Sanders was off the campaign trail recuperating from a heart attack.

But all is not lost for Biden, who secured 32% support in South Carolina versus 16% for Warren and 8% for Sanders.

When asked who their second choice for the 2020 Democratic primary would be, 14% of voters in Iowa said Buttigieg – behind only Warren at 20% and “a different candidate, don’t know or refuse” at 29%. Buttigieg, a former U.S. Naval Reserve officer who has held office in South Bend since 2012, announced his candidacy shortly after coming out as gay.

A supermajority of respondents in Iowa (79%) want President Donald Trump impeached, while slightly more than half (53%) think Trump should go to prison. A similar number of respondents in New Hampshire and South Carolina called for impeachment and prison as well.

Meanwhile, a Monmouth University poll released Monday found 69% of registered voters nationwide say the country is greatly divided when it comes to core values.

Even more telling, 57% have a great concern that anyone who holds different core political principles from their own will cause lasting damage to the country if they are able to enact those policies. And the sentiment runs across party lines, with 66% of Democrats and 62% of Republicans saying they see great potential damage to the country being carried out by the opposite party – up by double digits from 2016.

Just 16% of voters have confidence in the American people under the current democratic system, though the silver lining could be that 44% trust their fellow Americans.

“We are seeing a mixed bag of results here,” said Monmouth University Polling Institute director Patrick Murray in a statement, Voters claim they trust the American people to make political decisions, but it seems that may only apply if they actually agree with those decisions. Who controls Washington plays a defining role in partisan opinion here.”

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