Iowa Poll: Joe Biden Retains Lead As Warren Surges And Sanders Fades

Elizabeth Warren participates in a reenacted swearing-in with Joe Biden.
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden remains the top choice among Iowa Democrats, according to a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom/CNN poll.

As the absolute front-runner, Biden has managed to maintain the lead, despite losing a few percentage points; 24 percent of Iowa Democrats say the former vice president is their first choice. Second place belongs to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who appears to be slowly fading in the polls; 16 percent of Iowans say that Sanders is their first choice for president.

The poll is good news for some, including Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Warren has surged, receiving the support of 15 percent of Iowans, as has Buttigieg, who is the first choice of 14 percent of Iowa Democrats. No other candidate has managed to crack double digits, with California Senator Kamala Harris — who is polling at 7 percent — taking the fifth place.

Behind Harris are Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, and Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke, both of whom are polling at 2 percent.

As J. Ann Selzer, president of the Des Moines-based Selzer & Co., explained, the crowded Democratic field is seemingly beginning to take shape, with voters strongly committing to the candidates that they prefer.

“We’re starting to see the people who are planning to caucus start to solidify. There’s a lot more commitment than we normally see this early. And some of these candidates who’ve been under the radar start to surface and compete with Joe Biden,” Selzer said, explaining that in fields as big as the Democratic field standing out and getting voters to pay attention is crucial, and Elizabeth Warren appears to have managed to do so.

Given that more than 20 Democrats are running for president, and given that many of them will inevitably drop out of the race, retaining favorability across different demographic groups is thought to be crucial. This appears to be one of Joe Biden’s greatest strengths; 61 percent of Iowans say the former vice president is “on their list in some way.”

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The poll also revealed one of Bernie Sanders’ biggest weaknesses: the Vermont senator is more popular among those “less committed to caucusing,” than among Iowans who “definitely plan to participate.”

As Bloomberg notes, Biden lost three percentage points since March, and Sanders lost nine.

As The Hill notes, since Iowa Democrats will hold their caucuses in eight months time, the level of support is not as important for candidates as trajectory. The trajectory is negative for Biden and Sanders, but positive for Warren and Buttigieg.