From L: Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, and Joe Biden

Quinnipiac University released a poll of the Iowa Caucus that shows four Democratic presidential candidates running close together as we are headed toward the final stretch. The poll shows U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and former Vice President Joe Biden running within five points of each other.

  1. Elizabeth Warren – 20 percent
  2. Pete Buttigieg – 19 percent
  3. Bernie Sanders – 17 percent
  4. Joe Biden – 15 percent

No other candidate reached five percent.

Quinnipiac University surveyed 698 Iowa likely Democratic caucus-goers between 10/30 until 11/5. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percent.

This jives with other recent polls taken in late October.

The New York Times/Siena College poll (conducted between 10/25 to 10/30) also shows a close race between the four candidates with Warren at 22 percent, Sanders at 19 percent, Buttigieg at 18 percent, and Biden at 17 percent.

The Iowa State University poll taken earlier (10/18 – 10/22) shows a similar pattern, but the race has tightened since. In their poll Warren has a larger lead at 28 percent followed by Buttigieg at 20 percent, Sanders at 18 percent, and Biden at 12 percent.

The Real Clear Politics average of the last four polls conducted in Iowa shows:

  1. Warren – 21.8 percent
  2. Buttigieg – 17.5 percent
  3. Sanders – 15.8 percent
  4. Biden – 15.5 percent

Quinnipiac noted a difference between those who will caucus for the first time and those who have caucused before.

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. 

Some thoughts:

  • Buttigieg is clearly the beneficiary of Biden’s collapse as he is not running as far left as Warren or Sanders. If there is a dark horse upset winner in Iowa, I think it will likely be him, at last Friday’s Liberty & Justice Celebration hosted by the Iowa Democratic Party he had the largest crowd by far.
  • Sanders makes a comeback. The Emerson and USA Today/Suffolk polls had Sanders running fourth at 13 percent and 9 percent respectfully. He’s still in the thick of it, and new caucus goers are feeling the Bern.
  • Biden is down, but not out. Unlike U.S. Senator Kamala Harris whose campaign went into free fall after July, Biden’s decline was not as dramatic and he still leads many national polls (which are relatively worthless).
  • Another potential dark horse to watch? I doubt it, but if anyone else enters the mix in Iowa my bet would be U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who has ticked up to five percent. I just don’t think there’s enough oxygen for her, Buttigieg, and Biden in the top tier.
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