Iowa poll: It’s Biden vs. Bernie

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Iowa poll: It’s Biden vs. Bernie




Joe Biden

The survey showed 27 percent supported former Vice President Joe Biden and 25 percent supported Sen. Bernie Sanders — a percentage within the margin of error. | Win McNamee/Getty Images

2020 elections

The Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom survey asked Democrats likely to take part in Iowa’s 2020 caucuses who their top choice for president would be.

Former Vice President Joe Biden leads a crowded Democratic primary field in Iowa, but Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has shot up in popularity in the first-in-the-nation presidential nominating state.

A new Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom poll released Saturday evening shows Sanders within just two points of Biden, who in December dominated the field.

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The survey showed 27 percent supported Biden and 25 percent supported Sanders — a percentage within the 4.9 percent margin of error. In December’s Register poll, Biden led the pack at 32 percent with Sanders at 19 percent.

Sanders, who narrowly lost the 2016 Iowa caucuses to Hillary Clinton, just barnstormed the state with three robust rallies, including one Saturday.

The Iowa Poll, headed by pollster Ann Selzer, is a closely watched barometer of the state’s politics. Conducted March 3 through March 6, the poll surveyed 401 Iowa Democrats likely to take part in Iowa’s 2020 caucuses who their top choice for president would be.

The former vice president has been quietly laying the groundwork for a 2020 run but has yet to formally enter the race and said he’d announce a decision in April. While Biden’s support saw a 5 percent drop in three months, 64 percent of those surveyed said he had more experience than other candidates and should get in the race, while 31 percent said his time as a candidate had passed.

No other candidate broke 10 percent. The next closest was Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 9 percent, up slightly from 8 percent in December. California Sen. Kamala Harris was at 7 percent, up from 5 percent. While Warren and Harris saw a small uptick, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke saw a drop to 5 percent, down from 11 percent in December. O’Rourke has not yet announced his 2020 plans. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker each polled at 3 percent.

Other candidates either did not register or polled at 1 percent, including John Delaney, the former Maryland congressman who spent more than $1 million on Iowa TV ads last year and has fielded a robust statewide organization. Most Democrats in the field have already visited Iowa at least once this year, a testament to the state’s sustained importance as the first in the presidential nominating process.

The poll marks the first Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom survey since the Democratic field has taken a more definitive shape, with 14 candidates having announced their candidacies and others officially bowing out of a 2020 run, including, most recently, billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Of those surveyed, more than 90 percent supported a Green New Deal, 84 percent backed Medicare for all and 81 percent were in favor of a candidate who would tax individuals with more than $50 million in wealth.

The poll also showed that Democrats overwhelmingly rejected a divisive candidate, with 83 percent backing a White House aspirant who “will focus on harnessing Democrats’ positive energy to unite the country” over the 13 percent who wanted someone who could tap into “anger to defeat President Trump.”

The Iowa caucuses are scheduled for Feb. 3, 2020.

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