Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s support in Iowa has been bubbling up in recent weeks. There have been various polls sometimes showing her tied or leading, but none of them carry the same clout as the Des Moines Register poll. The paper of record in Iowa, which gets a lot of attention during presidential election cycles, puts out polling during the primary season which is regarded to be reliable (if you can consider polls reliable nowadays) and worthwhile to examine.
The latest iteration of the Des Moines Register Iowa Democratic Caucus poll has Warren leading the field by a two-point margin:
Elizabeth Warren has surged in Iowa, narrowly overtaking Joe Biden and distancing herself from fellow progressive Bernie Sanders, the latest Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows.
Warren, the U.S. senator from Massachusetts, now holds a 2-percentage-point lead, with 22% of likely Democratic caucusgoers saying she is their first choice for president. It is the first time she has led in the Register’s poll.
Former Vice President Biden, who had led each of the Register’s three previous 2020 cycle polls, follows her at 20%. Sanders, the U.S. senator from Vermont, has fallen to third place with 11%.
No other candidate reaches double digits.
“This is the first major shakeup” in what had been a fairly steady race, said J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll. “It’s the first time we’ve had someone other than Joe Biden at the top of the leader board.”
J. Ann Seltzer, the woman with the magic potion behind the Des Moines Register polling outfit, has been doing these surveys for years. She has a direct connection with voters in her state so pundits and analysts usually take notice when she puts out new numbers, especially when they show a shakeup in the race compared to the previous numbers.
Here’s a complete breakdown of the poll, conducted September 14-18, 2019, for The Des Moines Register:
22% – Warren
20% – Biden
11% – Sanders
9% – Buttigieg
6% – Harris
3% – Klobuchar, Booker
2% – Gabbard, O’Rourke, Yang
1% or less – everyone else
Those numbers show a very, very tight race in Iowa right now. The most glaring point in these numbers is Bernie sitting at a mere 11%. If that’s the case, it’s obvious that he is hemorrhaging support to Warren and she’s in the midst of uniting progressives as the anti-Biden choice.
The numbers speak to a fluid race where voters are continuing to make up their minds, and the race is far from settled:
Just one in five likely Democratic caucusgoers say their minds are made up, while 63% say they could still be persuaded to support a different candidate.
“The data in this poll seem to suggest the field is narrowing, but my sense is there’s still opportunity aplenty,” Selzer said. “The leaders aren’t all that strong. The universe is not locked in.”
As for the others behind Warren, Biden is still well within striking distance if voters decide that they view Warren as a riskier proposition. At this point, however, Biden is looking somewhat risky himself. Bernie could easily surge and make a comeback since he has a strong following.
For Mayor Pete Buttigieg to be sitting at nine percent is still fairly decent considering he has been stagnant or losing support in national polling with the various problems he’s been facing back home in South Bend, Ind.
Sitting back in the number five spot for Sen. Kamala Harris means she hasn’t lost all support yet, she could still be in contention, but she’s on a bad downward trajectory. She did recently announce a new campaign strategy to carpet bomb Iowa as an attempt to resurrect her once-rising campaign so perhaps if she focuses more on the state she can make an impact.
In total, a very good poll for Warren since in many ways, the concept of “electability” is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Biden was leading every poll, so in response, voters saw him as “most electable.” If Warren’s name keeps popping up at the top or near it, she’ll start to absorb the same sentiment from voters.