The Dallas Morning News

Democrat Buttigieg moves up in polls

Biden, Sanders are 12 in New Hampshire and Iowa, polls show

- By TODD J. GILLMAN Washington Bureau Twitter: @toddgillma­n

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., moves up in Democratic presidenti­al polls, surpassing Texans Beto O’rourke and Julián Castro.

WASHINGTON — A pair of polls released Thursday show former Vice President Joe Biden still leading among Democrats in the crucial early states of Iowa and New Hampshire, despite an uproar over whether his touchyfeel­y style crossed the line.

Two Texans remain well behind — eclipsed by Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., a dark horse who surged to third place in both states after strong performanc­es in a CNN town hall and on the stump.

The buzz attending Beto O’rourke in the heady aftermath of his nearmiss against Sen. Ted Cruz has faded. He has settled into a singledigi­t slump.

Julián Castro, the former San Antonio mayor and federal housing secretary, has inched up but remains mired in low single digits.

In New Hampshire, the top three are Biden, with 23%, followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 16% and Buttigieg at 11%, according to a survey from the Saint Anselm College Survey Center at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics.

Behind them are Sens. Elizabeth Warren (9%) and Kamala Harris (7%), with O’rourke at 6%.

“The early battle in New Hampshire seems to be between two familiar faces that represent different wings of the Democratic Party,” said Neil Levesque, executive director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm. “Biden leads the older and more moderate wing while Sanders’ support comes from younger progressiv­e voters.”

He noted how quickly Buttigieg “has gone from a virtual unknown to 11% support,” putting him ahead of Warren, from neighborin­g Massachuse­tts.

In Iowa, Buttigieg is now the top choice of 9% of Democrats likely to take part in the February caucuses, the first contest of 2020. That’s the finding of a new Monmouth University survey that showed Biden on top with 27% support and a formidable 78% favorabili­ty rating, by far the best in a field of two dozen announced or likely contenders.

Biden hasn’t jumped into the race, though he has signaled that he will.

“If Biden does get into this race, he’ll start out as a clear frontrunne­r in Iowa,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independen­t Monmouth University Polling Institute. “Buttigieg’s current standing in the horse race is impressive given that nearly half of likely Democratic caucusgoer­s have yet to form an opinion of him.”

Sanders, the runnerup for the nomination in 2016, is the pacesetter in fundraisin­g. He had 16% support in Iowa. But in Des Moines Register/cnn poll last month, 25% of likely caucusgoer­s picked him as their top choice. Tied for fourth in the Monmouth poll: Warren and Harris (both at 7%). Then came O’rourke (6%), Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (4%), New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker (3%) and Castro (2%).

While many of the contenders remain littleknow­n to voters, most Democrats in Iowa say they’re familiar with O’rourke, and he is positioned well, with a 60% favorable rating. He’s the second choice of 8% of voters — better than all but three rivals for the nomination.

Strategist­s typically shrug off polls from this stage of the campaign, though the longer a candidate remains stuck in the basement, the harder it is to attract media attention, crowds and donations.

“We’re not building this campaign to win a poll in April 2019. We’re trying to win the election in February of 2020 and March of 2020 and April of 2020,” Booker’s campaign manager, Addisu Demissie, told reporters on a call Thursday ahead of Booker’s hometown rollout rally in Newark, N.J., on Saturday. “This is a long race where there’s going to be a lot of ups and downs. And anybody who’s been through this … knows that there are going to be ebbs and flows.”


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