On Saturday evening, a new Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom poll was released showing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) leading the 2020 Democratic pack in the state of Iowa.
The poll, which surveyed 602 “likely Democratic caucusgoers” and was conducted between September 14-18, asked: “Which one of the following Democrats would be your first choice for president?” The respondents stated both their first and second choices.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren came out on top with 22% of respondents selecting her as their first choice, and 20% as their second choice.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, long considered the front-runner of the Democratic race, came in second, with 20% of respondents selecting him as their first choice, and only 10% as their second choice.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) came in a distant third place, with just 11% selecting him as their first choice, and 10% as their second.
[In a previous poll taken in June, Biden was in first place with 23% selecting him as their first choice, and 13% as their second. Warren and Sanders were in a dead heat for second place with 15% picking Warren as their first choice and 14% as their second, and 16% picking Sanders as their first choice and 11% as their second.]
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg came in fourth, with 9% selecting him as their first choice, and 9% as their second. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) rounded out the top five with 6% of respondents selecting her as their first choice, and 10% as their second.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) represent the middle-tier, with combined first and second place scores of 7% each. Beto O’Rourke and businessman Andrew Yang represent the lower-tier, with combined scores of 4%.
When the poll asked which candidates Democratic voters are “actively considering,” the top ten appears a little more competitive.
- Kamala Harris: 39%
- Pete Buttigieg: 37%
- Cory Booker: 35%
- Beto O’Rourke: 34%
- Joe Biden: 30%
- Amy Klobuchar: 30%
- Elizabeth Warren: 29%
- Bernie Sanders: 29%
- Andrew Yang: 20%
- Julian Castro: 20%
While the “actively considering” numbers may seem at odds with the first and second place numbers, it’s important to understand that when respondents were asked if their “mind is made up” or if they “could be persuaded” to move to another candidate, 63% said they “could be persuaded,” while only 20% said their “mind is made up.”
In other words, it’s only September, and the Iowa caucus doesn’t take place until February 3, 2020.
Some of the uncertainty might be a result of the hard-left turn many candidates have taken. The survey asked: “Which of the two [statements] better fits your definition of the more electable candidate.”
63% of respondents said they want a candidate that “takes positions that seek to find common ground with Republicans,” while only 28% said they want a candidate who “takes positions that move the country to the left.”
The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4 points.
It should be noted that this poll reflects only Iowans, and not necessarily the general Democratic electorate. According to the RealClearPolitics polling average, Biden still holds a wide lead nationally with 30.2% to Warren’s 19.8%. Sanders remains within striking distance of Warren with 16.6%, while the next closest competitor is Buttigieg, who is more than ten points down at 6.2%.
The rest of the national field consists of Harris (6%), O’Rourke (3.2%), Yang (3%), Booker (2.8%), Klobuchar (1.6%), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii (1%), businessman Tom Steyer (0.8%), former HUD Secretary Julian Castro (0.8%), and Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado (0.8%).