Wednesday, July 15, 2020 06:22:44 PM
Reuters, Washington :
Pete Buttigieg has pulled to the top of the pack of Democratic presidential candidates in Iowa for the first time after drawing increased support from nearly every demographic group, according to a Monmouth University poll released on Tuesday.
Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, leapfrogged past former Vice President Joe Biden since Monmouth's Iowa poll in August to lead in the state that will in February host the first nominating contest. Buttigieg gained 14 percentage points during that time and now has support from about 22% of likely Democratic caucusgoers.
During the same time period, Biden dropped 7 points to 19% support; U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts dropped 2 points to 18% support; and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont gained 5 points, with 13% support, according to the poll.
"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," Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said of Buttigieg's rise.
But, with fewer than three in 10 likely caucusgoers saying they are firmly decided on their candidate, Murray said the race remains "extremely fluid" ahead of Iowa's Feb. 3 caucuses, which act as an initial proving ground for U.S. presidential candidates.
Sixteen percent said there is a "high possibility" that they could change their minds and another 37% said there is a moderate possibility they could switch allegiances, according to the poll.
Other candidates in the crowded field of Democrats vying to take on Republican Donald Trump in November 2020 registered single-digit support in Iowa, the Nov. 7-11 telephone poll of 451 likely caucusgoers showed.
The poll also asked voters to pick a second-choice candidate and, when their first and second choices were combined, Buttigieg led the field with 37% support to Warren's 35% support.
Among Buttigieg's supporters, Warren and Biden were the second and third choices, with 21% and 20% support respectively. Among Biden's voters, Buttigieg and Warren were the second and third choices, with 22% and 20% support. Among Warren's supporters, 33% chose Sanders as their second choice and 26% chose Buttigieg as their third.
The Monmouth University poll marks the first time that Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana and at 37 the youngest candidate in the race, has topped a statewide presidential survey, firming his stature in the crowded battle to challenge President Donald Trump.
Buttigieg leads with 22 percent support while Biden secured 19 percent, according to the poll of likely voters in Iowa, which votes first in the nomination process.
The race's two leading progressives, senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, came in at 18 percent and 13 percent respectively.
The poll surveyed 451 Iowans likely to attend the state's caucuses next February, and the margin of error is plus or minus 4.6 percentage points.
In national polling Biden is the frontrunner, and Buttigieg remains in fourth, behind Warren and Sanders.
But the Iowa poll confirms a rising trend for Buttigieg. His support surged 14 points since the last Monmouth poll in August, while Biden's slid seven points.
Buttigieg "is doing well with voters regardless of education or ideology," said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
The poll also shows that many Iowans are not fully committed, with 53 percent of likely caucusgoers acknowledging a high or moderate possibility they will change their minds.
In a further unexpected twist to the Democratic race, defeated 2016 candidate Hillary Clinton on Tuesday appeared to not rule out joining the fray.
She told BBC radio "many, many people" were pressuring her to run but "as of this moment… that is absolutely not in my plans."
The lack of a firm frontrunner could encourage Bloomberg, the former New York mayor.
"Officially filed in Arkansas to be on the ballot for the Democratic primary," tweeted Bloomberg with a photograph of himself submitting the paperwork - four days after doing the same in Alabama.
"We must defeat Trump. He has failed us at every turn," the 77-year-old added.
Both states have early deadlines to register for the primaries.
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