Joe Biden is the top choice of nearly a third of Iowa Democrats likely to participate in the 2020 presidential caucuses — putting the former vice president atop a roughly 20-candidate field 14 months ahead of the first votes, according to a new poll released Saturday.
The first Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom survey before the 2020 caucuses shows Biden beginning a potential bid at 32 percent in Iowa, more than a dozen points ahead of the second-place candidate, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. The 2016 runner-up for the nomination is at 19 percent.
Outgoing Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who lost a Senate race last month, is in third place, at 11 percent. Slightly behind him are Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 8 percent, and California Sen. Kamala Harris at 5 percent.
All other candidates are below 5 percent support. Only 6 percent of poll respondents said they weren’t sure whom they would support after being read a list of 20 names.
Iowa is the first state in the presidential nominating process. The winner of the caucuses has gone on to win the Democratic presidential nomination in six consecutive election cycles, after favorite son Tom Harkin won the 1992 vote.
The Register’s poll is a closely watched barometer of the state’s politics. Pollster Ann Selzer is a political celebrity in Iowa, in equal parts due to her track record of accuracy and the influence of the poll on the caucuses.
Most Democratic voters in Iowa, the poll shows, are prioritizing electability. A majority, 54 percent, say it’s more important for the caucus winner to have a strong chance to defeat President Donald Trump in November 2020 — more than the 40 percent who say it’s more important to have a candidate who shares their positions on key issues.
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SOURCE: Politico, Steven Shepard