Biden Tops Iowa Poll by Democratic Rural Group: Campaign Update

Jennifer Epstein

(Bloomberg) -- A new Iowa poll has Joe Biden leading the Democratic presidential race in the first caucus state. The former vice president also placed as likely caucusgoers’ top second choice, putting him in a strong position with just two weeks to go until voters begin to choose their nominee.

Biden had the support of 24% of likely caucus-goers polled by Focus on Rural America, an Iowa group with Democratic ties that has been polling in the state since last year. Biden’s backing in the survey has been roughly stable since the group’s September poll, when he was at 25%. He is also the second choice of 24% of those surveyed, an important measure given that caucusgoers have the chance to choose a second candidate if their first choice gets below 15% at their caucus site on Feb. 3.

Elizabeth Warren was in second place at 19%, a 4-point drop from her showing in the previous poll. Pete Buttigieg was in third place at 16% and Bernie Sanders was in fourth at 12%. Amy Klobuchar, who’s staking her campaign on success in Iowa, was in fifth place at 11%. Buttigieg was the second most-popular second-choice candidate, with 21% of likely caucus-goers saying they’d support him if their first choice is not viable.

The poll’s ordering of the top four candidates is different than the well-regarded Des Moines Register poll released 10 days ago, which had Sanders leading and Biden in fourth. The discrepancies probably reflect what’s expected to be a messy caucus night result that few Iowa Democrats are willing to predict.

The poll, conducted by David Binder Research, surveyed 500 likely caucusgoers and has an error margin of 4.4 percentage points.

COMING UP:

Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York, both plan to address the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Wednesday.

The candidates will debate again in New Hampshire on Feb. 7.

The first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses will be held Feb. 3. The New Hampshire primary is Feb. 11. Nevada holds its caucuses on Feb. 22 and South Carolina has a primary on Feb. 29.

(Michael Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Jennifer Epstein in Washington at jepstein32@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Edward Dufner

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