Pete Buttigieg launches past Sanders to top three spot in latest Iowa poll

Pete Buttigieg
South Bend's Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during a rally to announce his 2020 Democratic presidential candidacy in South Bend, Indiana, U.S., April 14, 2019 Photo: Shutterstock

The Iowa caucuses are now a three-way race as South Bend Mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg surges in the polls.

A new Suffolk University/USA TODAY Poll found that 18% of likely Democratic caucusgoers in Iowa support former Vice President Joe Biden, 17% support Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and 13% support Buttigieg.

Related: New polling shows Pete Buttigieg would beat Donald Trump in the general election

Sen. Bernie Sander (I-VT) came in fourth at 9%, and billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer was fifth at 3%. 29% of respondents are undecided.

Iowa is the first state to hold a primary, which gives it outsized importance. Candidates want a good showing there to prove to voters in other states that they are a viable candidate.

The poll – which was performed from Wednesday to Friday of last week – is one of the first to be conducted after the fourth Democratic debate this past Tuesday, where Buttigieg is widely believed to have performed well.

In the same poll this past June, Biden had a strong lead in the field, followed by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) who was coming off a good performance at the first Democratic debate. Buttigieg was at 6%, behind Sanders who was at 9%.

“Iowa is unquestionably up for grabs,” said David Paleologos, of the Suffolk Political Research Center, adding that the mayor “has found a lane and is accelerating toward the front of the pack, surpassing Bernie Sanders. All of this is happening while the number of undecided voters continues to grow as Democratic caucusgoers pause to reevaluate the changing field.”

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