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Biden Back On Top In Polls, Pledges Millions On Last-Minute Television Ads

By  Emily Zanotti
DES MOINES, IOWA - JANUARY 13: Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden greets volunteers at state campaign headquarters on January 13, 2020 in Des Moines, Iowa. A new poll by Monmouth University released today shows Biden atop the Democratic field in Iowa with 24 percent of the vote, six points in front of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) ahead of next month’s caucuses. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden is back on top in the most recent Iowa polls, pulling back ahead of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) among “firmly decided” caucus-goers, just days after Sanders topped a Des Moines Register poll of probable voters.

The Monmouth poll, released late Monday, shows Biden with a considerable lead, besting Sanders, the second-place finisher, by six points, 24% to 18%.

“Biden is ahead with 24% support, up 5 points from the same poll in November. Bernie Sanders is in second place with 18%, virtually tied with Pete Buttigieg at 17%, and with Elizabeth Warren at 15%,” MSN reported Tuesday. “Biden has been at at the top of most Iowa polls, though Sanders had the lead in a Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom poll released Friday, with 20%. Biden was fourth in that poll, with 15% support, behind Warren and Buttigieg.”

The Monmoth poll, the news outlet says, is “notable,” because it indicates things are settling for Iowa caucus-goers, who have just over two weeks to decide who they plan to caucus for in their first-in-the-nation contest. Independents and undecides are beginning to break — and they’re beginning to break in Biden’s favor.

Biden’s team hadn’t expected to win the Iowa caucus, so if these numbers hold, it will be a nice surprise for the former Veep, and given him a significant boost going into more critical primaries, like those in South Carolina — where African-American voters will make their voices heard — and Nevada, where Hispanics are the fastest-growing segment of the voting population. Both demographics are key for any Democrat who plans on snagging the 2020 presidential nomination and taking on Donald Trump.

Sanders is expected to win New Hampshire, the first-in-the-nation primary, repeating his 2016 victory.

The Monmouth poll is bad news for Buttigieg and Warren. Any candidate who takes in less than 15% of the vote in the first round of the Iowa caucus has to forfeit the contest, and his or her caucus-goers have to realign with a different candidate. Warren benefits only if Biden doesn’t make the first round. MSN reports that she’s the top “second choice.”

That’s cold comfort, of course. Warren once led comfortably in Iowa, and has seen both her poll numbers and her fundraising take a significant slide since November, when she was forced to contend with accusations that she would raise taxes on the middle class to pay for her expansive “Medicare for All” healthcare plan.

Biden, it seems, isn’t sitting on his laurels in Iowa. After a breakneck campaign tour on his “No Malarkey” bus, he’s putting millions into a last minute ad campaign in the state, trying to secure his lead. Politico reports that Biden and Biden-aligned super PACs are poised to spend at least $2 million on ads in the last two weeks before the Iowa caucuses alone.

“The Unite the Country super PAC is accelerating its support for Joe Biden in Iowa with a new TV ad buy targeting President Donald Trump for his controversial handling of Iran,” the Washington, D.C.-based outlet reports. ‘The new statewide commercial is part of $2 million statewide ad buy scheduled to run through the state’s caucus day, Feb. 3, where polls show a tight race. Unite the Country has already spent about $2.2 million on TV to help Biden.”

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