Recent polling of the Democratic primary in Iowa shows that
the state is up for grabs and the most recent candidate to surge is… Pete
Buttigieg? According to a new poll, Buttigieg has jumped to third place,
surpassing Bernie Sanders.
Today/Suffolk poll of 500 likely Democratic caucus-goers showed Joe Biden and
Elizabeth Warren in a statistical tie at 18 and 17 percent respectively, but
the big surprise was a strong showing from the South Bend mayor. Buttigieg
polled at 13 percent in the survey while Bernie Sanders dropped to nine
Looking at the big picture, the Real
Clear Politics average does show a long, show rise in Iowa polling for
Buttigieg. The upward trend started in early September and coincides with drops
for both Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders. The average of polls currently shows
statistical ties for both Biden and Warren at 21 percent and Buttigieg and
Sanders at 14 percent.
Buttigieg is likely benefitting from multiple factors in the
race. Both Biden and Warren have given weak debate performances while Bernie
Sanders has been saddled with health concerns after a recent heart attack.
Kamala Harris, once considered a strong contender, has plummeted in the polls
since the early debates.
The mayor has also made some important friends. Bloomberg reported that Buttigieg was advised by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg on hiring
certain campaign officials. Buttigieg and Zuckerberg both attended Harvard
where their tenures overlapped and they shared mutual friends. Buttigieg was
one of the first 300 users of Facebook. While Zuckerberg has not endorsed
Buttigieg, the Facebook founder is an important connection.
The Iowa caucuses are tentatively scheduled for Feb. 3,
2020, only about four months away. Unlike the primaries that most states hold,
the caucuses require candidate supporters to attend local caucus meetings to vote
for their candidate. The process is a bigger commitment than just voting so
excitement over a candidate can be a game-changing factor.
The caucuses are not winner-take-all but candidates do have
to meet a threshold, typically 15
percent, at caucus sites to be considered viable. If a candidate is not
viable, their supporters can switch to a different candidate and still
participate. Under this system, it is very possible that Buttigieg could win
delegates in Iowa if his surge continues.
Nationally, however, Buttigieg has not caught on. He has
remained at about five percent in the Real
Clear Politics national average throughout the summer. However, if either
Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren falters (or both), Pete Buttigieg seems to
be positioned to be the next candidate to catch the wave of Democratic dissatisfaction
with the frontrunners.