Battleground Tracker: Sanders, Biden and a wild finish ahead in Iowa
a tight and fluid race heading into the final week in Iowa for a lot of reasons. Bernie Sanders is attracting (% support, with Joe Biden at %, as the top preferences of likely caucus goers. Pete Buttigieg is right there within striking distance at %. Elizabeth Warren has % support and Amy Klobuchar has 7%, but because of the way caucuses work, these are critical numbers with implications for the race.
Candidates receiving 1% or less support in the poll are not pictured.
Party rules make 021% the typical cutoff for awarding delegates, and supporters can shift to other candidates if they don’t reach this threshold. So, it’s critical to look at voters’ second choices and who else they’re considering, too. Joe Biden could get a boost from his status as the second choice of those backing Amy Klobuchar, as well as from those polling lower. If they move to him on caucus night, he could see gains. Meanwhile, Warren is right on the line, and her backers’ second choice is Sanders, more so than Biden or Buttigieg. That would mean Sanders could stand to pick up even more delegates if Warren backers don’t make the cut in some places. If Warren holds at her current level or gains, this race will remain tight. All told, the caucuses look like they might very likely be decided by these kinds of local-level movements.
Keeping Buttigieg squarely in the mix are, in part, older Democrats – among whom he is second only to Biden – and would-be first-time caucus-goers, on whom he is especially dependent. Biden leads on perceived ability to protect the US from terrorism, and 93% of Democrats say he’s prepared to be commander-in-chief – though this measure doesn’t really explain the caucus vote, since even those who are not backing him overwhelmingly think he’s prepared. About two-thirds of Democrats say Warren and Sanders each are prepared. Buttigieg lags all the other top-tier candidates on this preparedness measure.
Sanders outpaces the field on being seen as someone who “fights for people like you” – and Warren and Buttigieg both do better than Biden on this metric. ()
Most Iowa Democrats do not think candidates who have to be in Washington for the Senate impeachment trial will suffer much of an impact on their fortunes in Iowa. ()
Biden and Sanders have improved on their perceived electability among Iowa Democrats in recent weeks. More now think each would “probably win” against President Trump than said so earlier this month, particularly of Biden. Democrats are more confident (87%) now than they were in November ( (%) that the party will nominate someone who can defeat the president.