The latest polling from Monmouth University for the upcoming Iowa caucus’ show out Mayor Pete Buttigieg in the top spot for the first time.
He edges former Vice President Joe Biden by 3 points and Sen. Elizabeth Warren for 4 points. Sen. Bernie Sanders landed in 4th position 9 points behind Mayor Pete.
Here are the results of the latest poll – the numbers in parenthesis represent standing when combining first and second place results:
• Mayor Pete Buttigieg 22% (37)
• Former Vice President Joe Biden 19% (29)
• Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) 18% (35)
• Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) 13% (25)
• Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) 5% (14)
• Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) 3% (9)
• Billionaire Tom Steyer 3% (6)
• Entrepreneur Andrew Yang 3% (4)
Those numbers show an increase of 14 points for Buttigieg since Monmouth’s last poll in August when he garnered just 8 percent.
The South Bend mayor’s gains since the summer have been across the board, with increasing support coming from nearly every demographic group reports Monmouth University.
“Buttigieg is emerging as a top pick for a wide variety of Iowa Democrats,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute. “While he has made nominally bigger gains among older caucusgoers, you really can’t pigeonhole his support to one particular group. He is doing well with voters regardless of education or ideology.”
It goes without saying that a first or second-place finish in Iowa would seriously underscore Buttigieg’s standing among the current crop of Democratic White House hopefuls.
Mayor Pete is the first openly gay candidate to have a serious shot at the Democratic presidential nomination.
That said, only 28 percent of likely caucusgoers say that they are firmly set on their choice of candidate. The majority of respondents indicated they would not be overly disappointed if they had to switch their support.
There are easily identifiable reasons for the upswing in Buttigieg’s standing.
One, the 37-year-old mayor has begun to cast himself as an option for moderate Democrats who are also looking at Biden.
Two, when the Buttigieg campaign announced its top funding raising numbers ($24.8 million) after the second quarter of 2019, his team said they would put that money to use, which they have. Buttigieg has more than 100 staffers and over 20 organizing offices across Iowa.
However, it’s worth noting that despite laying out a detailed policy platform to help African Americans he calls “The Douglas Plan,” he faces an uphill battle in attracting the support of black voters, both nationally and in South Carolina where the third primary voting will be held. African-Americans make up about two-thirds of Democratic voters in the Palmetto state.
It’s been 31 years since a Democrat won the nomination without majority-black support.