Michaela Jae Rodriguez
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Buttigieg Hits First Place in New Iowa Poll

Pete Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg is number 1 in a new poll of likely Iowa Democratic caucusgoers.

The South Bend, Ind., mayor, the first out gay presidential candidate to appear in a nationally televised debate, was the top choice for the Democratic nomination of 22 percent of respondents to a Monmouth University poll released Tuesday.

Former Vice President Joe Biden was second with 19 percent, followed by U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, with 18 percent and 13 percent respectively. No other candidate had support in double digits.

But CNN offers a caveat: “Because their support falls within the margin of error, there is no clear leader in the Iowa poll.” The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 4.6 percentage points. It was conducted from Thursday through Monday among 451 likely caucusgoers.

Still, Buttigieg had moved up 14 percentage points from where he stood in Monmouth’s August poll. He also “has gained ground among every major demographic group since the summer,” increasing support across ages, genders, educational levels, and political leanings, a Monmouth press release notes.

“Buttigieg is emerging as a top pick for a wide variety of Iowa Democrats,” Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said in the release. “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.”

Warren moved up by two points from the August poll, while Sanders moved up five points and Biden dropped by seven points.

Respondents, however, aren’t married to their choices. “Less than one-third of likely caucusgoers say that they are firmly set on their choice of candidate and most would not be too disappointed if they had to switch their support,” according to the press release. 

The poll also asked respondents for their second choices. When the first and second picks are combined, Buttigieg leads with 37 percent, followed by Warren with 35 percent, Biden with 29 percent, Sanders with 25 percent, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota with 14 percent.

Monmouth found little support for former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has yet to formally announce his candidacy but has filed papers to run in some Super Tuesday primaries in March, but not the Iowa caucus (to be held February 3) or other early contests. He was the top choice of just one voter and the second choice of just 1 percent.

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