Jan 5, 2020

Poll: Sanders surges in early states as Warren falters

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders is starting 2020 in a three-way tie for first place in Iowa, joining former Vice President Joe Biden and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 23% each, according to a CBS News/YouGov poll published Sunday.

The big picture: Sanders' surge has come at the expense of fellow progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who soared to the front of the race in the fall but has since fallen back to Earth, trailing the three frontrunners in Iowa with 16%.

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar came in fifth with 7%. The Midwestern moderate has outlasted a number of her competitors and landed a spot on the January debate stage, but she has still failed to crack the top tier in early-state or national polling.
  • All other candidates failed to break 3% in the Iowa poll.

Sanders also landed first place in CBS/YouGov's New Hampshire poll, with 27% of voters selecting him as their first choice.

  • Biden came in second at 25%, followed by Warren at 18%, Buttigieg at 13% and Klobuchar at 7%.
  • Warren had led the pack in CBS/YouGov's two most recent New Hampshire polls, coming in at 31% in November and 32% in October.

Between the lines: Sanders has been one of the most consistent candidates in the 2020 race, remaining a top-tier contender along with Joe Biden while their competitors have fluctuated.

  • His supporters also show incomparable loyalty: Sanders leads the pack in voters who say they've made up their minds, with 43% and 47% in Iowa and New Hampshire, respectively.
  • A win in both Iowa and New Hampshire would provide a significant boost in momentum for Sanders going forward.

What to watch: The Iowa caucuses are just under a month away on Feb. 3. The New Hampshire primary is on Feb. 11.

Methodology: CBS News/YouGov polled 2,000 registered voters in Iowa, including 953 self-identifying Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents with a margin of error of 3.8%. In New Hampshire, they polled 1,100 voters, including 519 self-identifying Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents with a 5.3% margin of error.

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The deeply divided Democrats

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Democratic voters remain stubbornly divided on the top candidates in the four critical early states — and basically split in half between liberal and more centrist candidates.

Why it matters: A slew of new polls illuminates why many top Democrats think the 2020 race will be a long slog — and culminate with a fierce ideological battle between Sanders-style socialism and Biden-style tempered liberalism.

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Top 4 Democrats statistically neck and neck in Iowa presidential poll

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Sen. Bernie Sanders has gained momentum to become the first choice among likely Iowa caucus-goers three weeks before the nation's first presidential contest, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg have slowed in the latest poll from The Des Moines Register, Mediacom and CNN.

Why it matters: But taking the margin of error into account, the poll shows the Vermont senator in a statistical dead heat with Warren, Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Go deeperArrowJan 10, 2020

Andrew Yang qualifies for February debates

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The next Democratic debate scheduled for Feb. 7 will fall after the Iowa caucuses, four days before the New Hampshire primary, ABC News reports.

The latest: Andrew Yang on Jan. 26 became the seventh Democrat to qualify for the February debate after polling above 5% in UNH/CNN's New Hampshire survey, his fourth qualifying poll.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 26, 2020 - Politics & Policy