While it’s still early in the race for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, a new Iowa poll that is being closely watched shows former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders well ahead in the state in a crowded field of Democratic candidates.
The CNN/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll published on Saturday surveyed 401 likely Democratic caucusgoers from March 3-6. One key takeaway is that Biden, who hasn’t yet announced his candidacy, has 27% percent of the support among respondents. Sanders, who has gained ground on Biden since a December poll, came in second at 25%.
As CNN reported, no other Democratic candidate received above 9%.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren polled at 9% support, followed by California Sen. Kamala Harris at 7%. The remaining candidates polled at 5% or less. Both Warren and Harris gained slightly over the December survey.
The poll had a 4.9 percent margin of error.
Likely caucusgoers continued to be divided along two key lines in assessing their choices for president: age and ideology. Among those under age 45, Sanders has a 9-point edge over Biden, 32% to 23%, with Warren at 10% and Harris at 9%. Among older likely caucusgoers, Biden stands 15 points ahead of Sanders, 32% to 17%, with no other candidate in double digits. The ideological divide is similar. Among liberals, 30% back Sanders, 21% Biden, 11% Warren and 7% each Harris and [Beto] O’Rourke. Moderate or conservative likely caucusgoers, however, give Biden a wide edge: 36% to Sanders’ 18%, with the rest below 10%.
It’s worth noting that while Biden isn’t expected to announce whether he’ll run until next month, Sanders already has held three rallies in Iowa, most recently on Saturday. He also received some positive press on Sunday, with Politico noting that Senate Democrats are warming up to the idea of a possible Sanders nomination—or at least they’re not openly fighting one.
“It’s not that the Democratic Caucus is rallying behind him; most of them would prefer a more mainstream nominee, even if they’re unwilling to say it at this point. But they’re giving Sanders props for what he’s accomplished, and say if he’s able to win the nomination, more power to him,” Politico’s Burgess Everett and Marianne Levine wrote.
One question the poll asked, “When it comes to Joe Biden, which of the following do you agree with more?” Sixty-four percent of respondents answered with, “He has more experience than any other candidate, and he should get in the race,” compared with 31% who responded, “The time for him as a candidate has passed, and he should stay out of the race.”
For Sanders, 54% said he should be in the race again versus 43% who said he should not.
The positive news for Harris, CNN noted, is that her favorability rating jumped by 9%, the highest among the Democratic pack.
On the issues, the survey demonstrated that likely Democratic caucusgoers in Iowa want a candidate who can unite the country, tax the extremely wealthy (over $50 million in assets), support a Green New Deal, and to a lesser extent, back Medicare for All.
The issue that respondents most wanted candidates to talk about is healthcare (81%), followed closely by climate change (80%). Impeachment of President Donald Trump was the issue that garnered the lowest percentage of responses in this category, at 22%.
A majority of respondents (56%) said they would be satisfied if the Democratic Party nominated a candidate who thinks the U.S. should be more socialist.
Seventy-one percent of those surveyed said they would be dissatisfied if the Democrats nominated someone who holds fundraisers with wealthy people or corporate lobbyists.