Elizabeth Warren starting to nip at Joe Biden’s heels in new Iowa poll

Elizabeth Warren starting to nip at Joe Biden's heels in new Iowa poll

Former Vice President Joe Biden leads the unwieldy field of Democratic presidential hopefuls among likely Democratic Iowa caucusgoers, but Sen. Elizabeth Warren is starting to catch up with the frontrunner, according to a new Monmouth University Poll published Thursday.

Twenty-eight percent of likely caucusgoers surveyed in the poll said they backed Biden, while 19% said they support Warren. Biden registered one percentage point higher in Monmouth’s new survey compared to when they last polled Iowa voters in April, while Warren saw her support in the Hawkeye State climb sharply from the 7% she polled at four months ago.

As Warren starts to make headway with voters in Iowa, fellow progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, are seeing their support erode. Sanders saw his support plummet from 16% in April to 9%, while O’Rourke watched his tumble from 6% to less than 1%.

Sanders ranked second in the April Monmouth poll, but is now in fourth place behind Sen. Kamala Harris at 11% and just ahead of South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg who registered support from 8% of likely Iowa Democratic caucus participants.

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The new poll comes as most of the Democratic field descends on Iowa in the coming days to take part in the Des Moines Register Iowa State Fair Soapbox, the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding and a slew of other high-profile campaign events in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.

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Warren has seen her favorability climb in Iowa (76% favorable and 14% unfavorable in the new poll compared to 67% favorable and 20% unfavorable in April), while Biden has seen a bit of slippage (73% favorable and 19% unfavorable in the new poll compared to 78% favorable and 14% unfavorable in April.) Monmouth’s April poll came about two weeks before Biden officially entered the race.

Sanders and O’Rourke saw the largest drops in favorability ratings. Opinion of Sanders stands at 58% favorable and 33% unfavorable, which is a decline from his 67%-26% rating four months ago.  O’Rourke now has a 43% favorable and 24% unfavorable rating in Iowa, compared to his 60%-13% rating in April.

The most recent entrant in the race, former hedge fund manager and environmental activist Tom Steyer, had 3% support and a 34% favorable and 25% unfavorable rating. Steyer, who has said he will spend $100 million of his own fortune on the race, entered the crowded field of Democratic contenders in July.

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“A strong field organization seems to have given Warren a boost,” said Monmouth pollster Patrick Murray. “On the other hand, the fact that 6-in-10 Democrats are able to offer an opinion of Steyer shows that an unlimited advertising budget can come in handy too.”

Likely Democratic caucusgoers have a dour outlook about much of the field’s chances against President Trump in November 2020, according to the poll.

Nearly two-thirds said that most of the candidates could not beat Trump, 30% say that only one or two of the Democratic candidates have the ability to beat him, while 35% said more than two but less than half are up to the challenge. Seventeen percent say that about half the current field could beat Trump and 15% say that most or all of the 24 candidates could handle the incumbent.

Among those who feel only one or two candidates have a shot, 41% said they currently support Biden, compared with 13% who are for Warren, 11% for Harris, 10% for Sanders and 5% for Buttigieg.

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