ISU poll shows Bernie Sanders taking support from rivals

He topples Pete Buttigieg from atop the results

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders pauses while speaking Jan. 20 at the Brown & Black Forum at the Io
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders pauses while speaking Jan. 20 at the Brown & Black Forum at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. (Andrew Harnik/Associated Press)

Building on a stable base and picking up supporters from other candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders has moved into the lead in the Democratic presidential nomination, a new poll shows.

An Iowa State University/Civiqs poll conducted Jan. 23-27 found 24 percent of 655 likely Democratic caucusgoers favor the Vermont democratic socialist. He displaced former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who topped the poll in mid-December.

“Sanders has gained more and more every month from people who previously supported Julián Castro, Cory Booker and Tulsi Gabbard,” according to Dave Peterson, an ISU political science professor who organizes the poll. “He’s also gained about 10 percent of the people who supported Elizabeth Warren last month.”

Castro and Booker have quit the race, but Warren and Gabbard remain in the running.

One area Sanders has not gained support is from the “undecided” category, Peterson said.

Buttigieg slipped to third place in the poll (17 percent) behind Warren (19 percent). Former Vice President Joe Biden had 15 percent and Sen. Amy Klobuchar 11 percent.

However, with the poll’s 4.8 percent margin of error, the race may be tighter than those numbers indicate.

The ISU/Civiqs poll found growing interest in the caucuses, which are Monday. Polling data supports forecasts for potential record attendance, Peterson said. Nearly 80 percent of those surveyed said they would participate.


The online survey went to selected members of the Civiqs research panel. Likely caucus attendees were identified as those who responded they would “definitely” or “probably” attend the Iowa Democratic caucuses and identified as Democrats or independents. An oversample of Democrats and independents was selected to produce a larger number of likely caucus attendees.

Demographic data was collected in previous Civiqs surveys. The results for registered voters are weighted by age, race, gender, education, party and congressional district to be representative of registered voters.

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