South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg at a town hall event in Denison, Iowa on November 26, 2019.

In polls released prior to the weekend before the Iowa Caucus showed that former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg was in decline.

The conventional wisdom is that U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont or former Vice President Joe Biden will win Monday’s Iowa Caucus.

However, Buttigieg’s rally numbers don’t fit with a candidate who is in decline.

Granted, these are numbers his campaign emailed over the weekend, but it has tracked with stories I’ve read and rallies I’ve experienced this cycle.

  • On Saturday, Buttigieg held five town halls and rallies across Iowa – three of which were in counties that voted for Barack Obama in 2012 and flipped to Donald Trump in 2016. 
  • Nearly 3,000 Iowans came out to see Pete Buttigieg two days before the caucuses. 
  • In Oelwein, which is in Fayette County, Buttigieg drew a crowd of over 250 Iowans – the largest crowd in Fayette County this cycle. It is estimated that fewer than 800 Democrats caucused in total in Fayette County in the 2016 primary and the county swung from Obama to Trump by 31 points. 
  • Buttigieg has held 53 town halls in Iowa over the past three weeks, and over the course of the campaign he has drawn the largest crowds in 20 out of 27 counties he’s visited that flipped from voting twice for Obama to Trump in 2016.  
  • Saturday was Pete for America’s single biggest day of door-knocking of the entire campaign. 
  • Over 1,400 precinct leaders are scheduled to canvass over GOTC, and Pete for America will be knocking doors across all 99 counties over GOTC.

Then with his final rally in Des Moines on Sunday afternoon at Lincoln High School, the campaign said Des Moines Police officer Bernell Edwards confirmed that 2,030 people were in attendance.

These are some impressive numbers.

Then, a CBS News/YouGov poll released this weekend shows Buttigieg in third place at 21 percent. Granted, it’s one poll.

I know rally attendance doesn’t necessarily translate into votes, but it takes a strong organization to get those kinds of numbers out. And the candidate with the best organization typically does well in Iowa.

Look for Buttigieg to outperform his poll numbers.

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