Iowa: Sanders, Biden and Buttigieg in three-way tie as caucuses loom

Less than a month from the Iowa caucuses, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg are in a three-way tie for first place in the first state to vote in the Democratic presidential primary.

The same CBS News/YouGov poll, released on Sunday, put Sanders first in New Hampshire, the second state to vote.

The poll showed a group of five candidates breaking from the pack and continued a key primary narrative: the rise of Sanders, even after a heart attack, at the expense of Elizabeth Warren.

Iowa votes on 3 February. New Hampshire follows eight days later.

In Iowa, CBS/YouGov found Sanders, Biden and Buttigieg level on 23%, with Warren fourth on 16% and Amy Klobuchar fifth on 7%.

All other candidates in the sprawling field failed to pass 3%.

In New Hampshire, Sanders attracted 27% support to 25% for Biden, 18% for Warren, 13% for Buttigieg and 7% again for Klobuchar.

National polling averages still put Biden well clear of Sanders, with the tech investor Andrew Yang and the billionaire former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg – who is not competing in the early voting states – ahead of Klobuchar.

This week saw the candidates reveal how much money they raised in the final quarter of 2019. Sanders led with $34.5m, from Buttigieg with $24.7m, Biden with $22.7m and Warren with $21.2m. Klobuchar raised $11.4m, nearly $5m behind Yang.

Donald Trump raised $46m, an ominous number as the president amasses a huge war chest for a re-election effort under the shadow of impeachment.

The CBS/YouGov poll also included telling data regarding which Democrat, whether a progressive (Sanders, Warren) or a moderate (Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar), voters thought most likely to beat Trump in November.

In Iowa, 38% backed Biden to beat the president, to 29% for Sanders, 24% for Warren and 21% for Buttigieg.

In New Hampshire, 36% backed Biden while 33% thought Sanders could do the job, 22% had confidence in Warren and 15% liked Buttigieg’s chances.

Though the Sunday talk shows were dominated by Trump’s strike against Iran and his looming impeachment trial, the Democratic campaign was still an issue.

On CNN’s State of the Union, for example, Warren was questioned about her Medicare for All proposals in comparison with those offered by Sanders and pressured over whether she wants to outlaw private health insurance, a risky bet with moderate voters.

Buttigieg, meanwhile, was asked about his contention that his midwestern roots – until the turn of the year the 37-year-old was mayor of the small city of South Bend, Indiana – make him well placed to beat Trump in key Rust Belt states.

“I’m big on the idea of midwesterners running for president,” he said. “What I’m offering is a midwesterner who has executive experience building an administration, leading a government, guiding a population, in addition to the military experience and other experiences I bring to the table.”

Klobuchar, who is from Minnesota and also trades heavily on the fact, has pointed out that Buttigieg is running for the White House having contested only one statewide race in his life, for Indiana state treasurer in 2010, a contest he lost by 25 points.

“You know,” Buttigieg said, “one thing that most presidents and most of our nominees have had in common in modern times is losing an election or two.”


Martin Pengelly in New York

The GuardianTramp

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