Positive press for Pete Buttigieg and increased scrutiny of Elizabeth Warren have produced a new leader among likely Iowa caucusgoers 11 weeks ahead of the Iowa presidential caucuses.
Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., is now the leader in a new Iowa State University/Civiqs poll released Wednesday, with 26 percent of likely Democratic caucusgoers saying he’s their first choice for the presidential nomination.
Warren, the U.S. senator from Massachusetts, dropped to second place, basically tied with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 18 percent.
Former Vice President Joe Biden held steady at 12 percent, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is fifth with 5 percent.
“The growth in Warren last month ... the shift to Buttigieg, and the ways (caucusgoers) are transitioning from one candidate to another, makes it look like there is a group of Iowans who are a little unsure,” said ISU political science Professor Dave Peterson, who organizes the poll. “They are thinking about who they want, and they seem to be going with whoever seems to be getting the most positive press.
“This has been a really good month for the Buttigieg campaign,” Peterson added. He “is clearly in the lead in Iowa.”
However, Peterson warned that if Buttigieg, as he rises in the polls, attracts more scrutiny, “his lead might prove to be temporary as well.”
Warren, on the other hand, has seen her support drop by nearly 10 percent since mid-October, according to the poll of 614 likely Democratic caucusgoers conducted Nov. 15-19.
The percentage of those who do not want her to be their nominee increased 5 percent. The poll has a margin of error of 4.9 percent.
“A little over 60 percent of the people who supported Warren in October still support her now,” Peterson said. The ISU/Civiqs poll interviews the same people every month, “So we know not just where the levels of support are, but where people are changing their minds.”
“The shift shows Buttigieg is not only drawing from the middle, he’s drawing actively from Warren supporters,” he said.
Asked about their second choices, 22 percent of the respondents named Warren and 17 percent said Buttigieg.
The result showed that likely caucusgoers have defined a top tier and are showing little interest in the rest of the field.
The gap between Biden at 12 percent and Klobuchar at 5 is wider than the gap between her and Wayne Messam, Joe Sestak, John Delaney and newcomer Deval Patrick, all at 0.
Former New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who just entered the race, fared slightly better, getting the support of 1 percent of the sample. On the flip side, more voters say they don’t want Bloomberg as their nominee than support him.
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The results of the ISU poll mirror those of the Iowa Poll, released Saturday night, that showed Buttigieg in first place, with support from 25 percent of likely caucusgoers.
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