Dec 27, 2019

Bernie Sanders has more steady support in Iowa than any other top candidate

Photo: David Becker/Getty Images.

Sen. Bernie Sanders has shown remarkable consistency in polls for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination — especially in Iowa, where many of his supporters say their votes are locked in just weeks ahead of the state's first-in-the-nation caucuses.

Where it stands: A Des Moines Register poll showed that 57% of Iowans who view Sanders as their first choice say their mind is made up. No other candidate received more than 30% commitment from their current supporters. The Iowa caucuses are on Feb. 3, 2020.

  • Sanders benefits from near-universal name recognition and massive levels of grassroots fundraising.
  • The Vermont senator ran a tight race in the Iowa caucuses during his 2016 bid for the Democratic nomination and finished less than 0.3% behind Hillary Clinton — the closest margin in Iowa history.

Why it matters: The unshakeable loyalty of Sanders supporters has pushed Democratic insiders to take his campaign more seriously as of late, Politico notes. Sanders himself has frequently complained that the media and Democratic Party have treated him as a second-tier candidate, despite him consistently polling in the top three candidates.

  • RealClearPolitics puts Sanders in second place at the national level, trailing frontrunner Joe Biden by about 9%.
  • Sanders has also yet to be on the receiving end of significant attacks from other candidates, especially in comparison to top-tier rivals Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg.

Yes, but: Sanders, the only candidate to self-identify as a democratic socialist, is further left than the majority of the party, with 53% of Iowa caucusgoers finding him "too liberal." He's the only top four candidate for which a majority of voters say that's the case.

  • Some strategists argue that convincing independent voters and Republicans disillusioned with Trump to vote for Sanders in a general election could be prove difficult.
  • Sanders has also been battling Sen. Elizabeth Warren for support among progressive voters, though Warren has seen a recent dip in polling after receiving backlash over her plans to pay for Medicare for All.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Elizabeth Warren: Bernie Sanders said a woman couldn't win in 2020

2020 candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren at the July Democratic presidential debate in Detroit. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren said in a statement Monday that her Democratic presidential rival Sen. Bernie Sanders told her during a December 2018 meeting that a woman could not win in 2020.

Why it matters: Warren issued the statement after facing backlash for not commenting on reports from anonymous sources that Sanders had made the comments. He denied making the claim.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 14, 2020

Warren says she's "disappointed" to be targeted by Sanders campaign

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren told reporters Sunday she was "disappointed" to hear about a volunteer script from fellow 2020 candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign that criticizes her as a candidate of the elite.

Why it matters: The two progressive candidates have had a non-aggression pact throughout the 2020 campaign, but that could be changing with 22 days left until the Iowa caucuses.

Go deeperArrowJan 12, 2020

Sanders bashes Biden's record: "It’s just a lot of baggage"

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders is ramping up his defense against fellow 2020 competitor Joe Biden, criticizing the former vice president's record and questioning his ability to garner voter turnout, the Washington Post writes.

What he's saying: “It’s just a lot of baggage that Joe takes into a campaign, which isn’t going to create energy and excitement,” Sanders said in an interview between events in Iowa. “He brings into this campaign a record which is so weak that it just cannot create the kind of excitement and energy that is going to be needed to defeat Donald Trump.”

Go deeperArrowJan 3, 2020