Iowa Caucuses Could Be a Five-Way Race for Democrats

(CN) – With less than a week to go, Democratic candidates for president remain locked in a tight five-way race in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucus, according to a new poll.

A Monmouth University poll released Wednesday reveals that caucus-goers in Iowa continue to be divided on which Democratic candidate they will support, with five candidates earning double-digit support in the Hawkeye State. The poll reports that former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders are statistically tied for first place with 23% and 21% support, respectively, while South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren are in a close race for second with 16% and 15%, respectively.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks as fellow candidates businessman Tom Steyer, left, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, listen during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar has also cracked double-digit support among likely caucus-goers at 10%. Klobuchar’s numbers in the poll could be particularly significant not only because Iowa is a state her campaign has placed intense focus on, but also because she could reach viability thresholds in several of Iowa’s precincts.

The numbers are largely unchanged from earlier this month. Compared to the previous Monmouth University poll, Biden and Buttigieg each lost one point while Sanders gained three and Klobuchar gained two. Warren is the only candidate in the top field to see no change in support.

What caucus day holds for any of the candidates remains a mystery, however, as many caucus-goers say they could still change their mind on who they’ll support. Nearly half (45%) say that it is possible they could jump ship to a different candidate ahead of caucus day while 47% say they are fully committed to their candidate of choice.

Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, says the numbers convey one clear message regarding what results we may see from the upcoming Iowa caucus: expect anything.

“Caucus electorates are the most difficult to model in polling. The smartest takeaway from this, or any Iowa poll for that matter, is to be prepared for anything on Monday,” Murray said with the release of the poll.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar at the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 10, in Des Moines. (Photo by ROX LAIRD/Courthouse News Service)

Another key factor in the poll is who voters name as their most likely second choice candidate should their first choice fail to reach the required precinct support thresholds. When adding together voters’ first and second choice preferences, Biden (39%), Warren (34%), Sanders (32%), Buttigieg (29%) and Klobuchar (22%) all remain in the hunt with no clear front-runner.

Voter turnout will also influence who triumphs in the Iowa caucus. According to the poll, should more traditional Democratic voters show up to caucus, Biden stands a better change of victory. Should more voters who do not typically participate or lean more progressive, Monday night may swing more toward candidates like Sanders.

“A turnout swing of as few of 10,000 voters could determine who ‘wins’ the caucus if it is driven by a specific demographic group,” said Murray.

The Monmouth University poll surveyed 1,345 Iowa voters and has a 4.2% margin of error.

%d bloggers like this: