Dalila Ali Rajah
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Pete Buttigieg Rises to Third Place in Iowa Poll

Pete Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg has surged into third place among Democratic presidential candidates in Iowa in a new poll.

In the state, which holds the nation’s first vote on presidential contenders, 13 percent of respondents to the most Suffolk University/USA Today poll say the out candidate is their definite or likely choice, up seven percentage points from the organizations’ previous poll, held in June. He was also the top choice of respondents who’d watched last Tuesday’s debate.

In the poll, conducted by phone Wednesday through Friday, 18 percent of respondents said former Vice President Joe Biden was the candidate they would vote for or were leaning toward, while 17 percent chose U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. The survey covered 500 Iowans who said they were likely to attend the Democratic caucus, set for February 3, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

The new results show that Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., and the first openly gay person to seek the Democratic presidential nomination, is “within striking distance” of Biden and Warren, USA Today reports.

“Iowa is unquestionably up for grabs,” David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk Political Research Center, told the paper. Buttigieg “has found a lane and is accelerating toward the front of the pack, surpassing Bernie Sanders,” he added. “All of this is happening while the number of undecided voters continues to grow as Democratic caucusgoers pause to reevaluate the changing field.”

In the June poll, Biden led with 24 percent, followed by U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California with 16 percent, Warren with 13 percent, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont with 9 percent, and Buttigieg with 6 percent.

The increase in Buttigieg’s support and the decrease in Biden’s are likely due to their performances in last week’s debate. Among respondents who watched the debate, four out of 10 said Buttigieg did better than they expected, while one in four said Biden did worse. And of those who’d watched the debate, 19 percent said the South Bend mayor was their favorite candidate, while Biden and Warren were favored by 17 percent each.

The poll also showed a rise in support for the impeachment of Donald Trump. In the June poll, conducted before disclosures about Trump putting pressure on the government of Ukraine to investigate Biden’s son’s business dealings there, 41 percent of respondents said it was important that the Democratic nominee support impeachment. In the latest one, 52 percent said it was.

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