Andrew Yang Tops Iowa Youth Straw Poll Ahead Of State’s Caucuses

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang waves as he arrives at the 2020 Gun Safety Forum hosted by gun control activist groups Giffords and March for Our Lives at Enclave on October 2, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller / Getty Images

Thousands of students made their pick for their Democratic presidential candidate of choice in the Iowa Youth Straw Poll, and The Gazette reports that Venture for America founder Andrew Yang came in first with 3,370 votes. He barely edged out Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who gained more than 3,200 votes.

In third place was former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg with almost 2,700 votes. Coming in fourth was former Vice President Joe Biden with 1,700 votes.

Although some of those who participated in the poll will be 18 by the November elections, many will not. Regardless, that doesn’t mean the results couldn’t bode well for top-performing candidates like Yang and Sanders, per The Des Moines Register.

According to Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, who released the straw poll results Wednesday, the state’s students have been relatively on the mark with their choices in the past.

“The students have been remarkably accurate in projecting the results of the actual races in recent years, and many of them will be eligible to vote in this year’s elections,” he said in a statement.

“I’ve talked to a lot of the participants, and their views often reflect what their parents are saying at the dinner table. I think candidates should pay close attention to the results of the Iowa Youth Straw Poll.”

In the 2016 iteration of the poll, 46 percent chose Donald Trump and 35 percent chose Hillary Clinton, which reflected the president’s ultimate victory as well as the results of Iowa’s congressional races. In the 2015 edition, the students’ choices suggested an early Sanders surge, and in 2014, they reflected Joni Ernst’s win over Bruce Braley for the state’s U.S. Senate seat.

The most recent Morning Consult data puts Yang at 8 percent in the early states of Iowa, Nevada, South Carolina, and New Hampshire. Nationwide, the pollster has Yang at 5 percent.

The 44-year-old serial entrepreneur’s supporters often point to his lack of mainstream media coverage. This has drawn attention from podcaster Eric Weinstein, who said Yang — along with Tulsi Gabbard — is being excluded in a way that mirrors that exclusion experienced by Bernie Sanders and Ron Paul.

During a recent interview, comedian Dave Chappelle, who has endorsed Yang, spoke about his support for the candidate’s universal basic income (UBI) proposal, as well as the apparent lack of media attention surrounding it.

“It’s an important idea and for some reason I feel like it didn’t get the appropriate media coverage,” he said.