Buttigieg 2nd in Iowa in new Quinnipiac poll

Pete Buttigieg (Cropped Photo: Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0)

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is now polling in second place in the Democratic race for president in Iowa.

That's according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday afternoon.

Senator Elizabeth Warren has 20% support among Iowa likely Democratic caucus-goers, Buttigieg is getting 19%, Sen. Bernie Sanders is at 17%, and former Vice President Joe Biden is at 15%.

“A close race with a crowded field of frontrunners. While Senator Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Senator Bernie Sanders have held top tier status in national polls for months, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg joins their ranks in the 2020 Iowa caucus. And it’s a race that is up for grabs. Half of likely Democratic caucus-goers who support a candidate say they may change their minds before February 3rd,” said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Mary Snow

From Quinnipiac University:

With less than 3 months until the Iowa caucuses, the Democratic race for president in Iowa is wide open, as the top 4 candidates are in a close contest, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Senator Elizabeth Warren receives 20 percent support among Iowa likely Democratic caucus- goers, with South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg getting 19 percent, Sen. Bernie Sanders at 17 percent, and former Vice President Joe Biden at 15 percent.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar gets 5 percent, Sen. Kamala Harris is at 4 percent, and businessman Tom Steyer, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, and businessman Andrew Yang are each at 3 percent. No other candidate tops 1 percent.

Those who consider themselves "very liberal," who make up 24 percent of likely caucus-goers, are divided in their top choice with Sanders getting 32 percent and Warren at 30 percent. Those who identify as "somewhat liberal," who make up 24 percent of likely caucus-goers, are split in their top choice between Buttigieg and Warren, with Warren at 29 percent and Buttigieg at 24 percent. Among "moderates and conservatives," who constitute 50 percent of likely caucus-goers, it's a close race for the top spot between Buttigieg and Biden, with Buttigieg at 19 percent and Biden at 18 percent.

Among white likely caucus-goers with a college education, Buttigieg and Warren top the field with 24 percent and 21 percent respectively. Among white likely caucus-goers without a college education, Sanders gets 23 percent, Biden and Warren receive 19 percent each, and Buttigieg has 15 percent.

"A close race with a crowded field of frontrunners. While Senator Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Senator Bernie Sanders have held top tier status in national polls for months, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg joins their ranks in the 2020 Iowa caucus. And it's a race that is up for grabs. Half of likely Democratic caucus-goers who support a candidate say they may change their minds before February 3rd," said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Mary Snow.

The second choice of likely caucus-goers follows a similar pattern as the race overall, with Buttigieg at 17 percent, Warren with 16 percent, Sanders at 13 percent, and Biden getting 12 percent. However, among those who support candidates getting less than 15 percent in this poll, 22 percent say that Buttigieg would be their second choice, 21 percent say Sanders, 12 percent say Biden, and Warren gets only 6 percent.

The race remains very fluid as about half, 52 percent, of those who express a first choice say they might change their mind before the caucus, while 46 percent say their mind is made up. Sanders voters appear to be the most committed as 61 percent of Sanders voters say their mind is made up, compared to 48 percent of Biden voters, 44 percent of Warren voters, and 40 percent of Buttigieg voters.

There is excitement for the Democratic candidates, as 30 percent are extremely excited about the candidate they support, 37 percent are very excited, 29 percent are mildly excited, and 2 percent are not that excited. Sanders supporters are the most excited, as 52 percent say they are extremely excited, compared to 31 percent of Buttigieg supporters, 23 percent of Warren supporters, and 19 percent of Biden supporters.

The top candidate quality that Iowa likely Democratic caucus-goers are looking for is "someone who can win the general election" which receives 33 percent, followed by "honesty" at 25 percent, "someone who cares about people like you" at 18 percent, "good leadership skills" at 15 percent, and only 7 percent saying "experience in public office."

Likely caucus-goers who selected electability as most important are divided in their top choice in the caucus, with Biden, Buttigieg, and Warren each getting 21 percent. Buttigieg does best among those who care most about good leadership skills with 32 percent support, followed by Warren at 21 percent. Buttigieg and Sanders do best with those who say honesty is most important to them, with Sanders getting 23 percent and Buttigieg at 21 percent. Sanders dominates among those who want "someone who cares about you," winning 33 percent support.

"For Iowa caucus-goers checking the electability box as their top quality in choosing a candidate, there is no one candidate with a clear edge. Biden, Warren, and Buttigieg are tied among those ranking a 2020 win uppermost in their decision," added Snow.

The most important issue in deciding who to support is health care, say 34 percent of likely caucus- goers, followed by climate change at 24 percent, the economy at 11 percent, and foreign policy and education each receiving 8 percent.

Among likely caucus-goers who say health care is the most important issue to their choice, 26 percent support Sanders and 22 percent support Warren. Among those who say climate change is most important, 25 percent choose Warren, 24 percent pick Buttigieg, and 20 percent support Sanders.

This will be the first caucus for 21 percent of likely caucus-goers. These first time caucus-goers are split between Sanders, who gets 30 percent, and Warren, who has 24 percent. Buttigieg gets 10 percent and Biden and Yang receive 9 percent each. Among the 78 percent of likely caucus-goers who have attended previous caucuses, Buttigieg is the choice of 21 percent, while 19 percent go to Warren, 16 percent support Biden, and 14 percent go to Sanders.

Among those who supported Sanders in the 2016 Iowa caucus, the top candidates are Sanders himself with 35 percent, Warren at 23 percent, and Buttigieg with 19 percent. Among those who supported Hillary Clinton, 27 percent support Biden, 21 percent go to Buttigieg, and 18 percent are for Warren.

From October 30 - November 5, Quinnipiac University surveyed 698 Iowa likely Democratic caucus- goers with a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points, including the design effect.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts gold standard surveys using random digit dialing with live interviewers calling landlines and cell phones. The Quinnipiac University Poll conducts nationwide surveys and polls in more than a dozen states on national and statewide elections, as well as public policy issues.

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