USA TODAY US Edition
Poll shows Biden leads a volatile race in Iowa
But 45% of caucusgoers may change their mind
Former Vice President Joe Biden leads the field a week before the opening Iowa caucuses, but 45% of those with a preference said it was still possible they might change their minds, a new Suffolk University/USA TODAY Network Poll of the state finds.
One week before the opening Iowa caucuses, former Vice President Joe Biden leads a fluid Democratic field, a new Suffolk University/USA TODAY Network Poll of the state finds.
In the survey taken Thursday through Sunday, Biden was backed by 25% of likely Democratic caucusgoers, ahead of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 19%; former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 18%; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 13%; and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar at 6%.
But an additional 13% were undecided, and 45% of those with a preference said it was still possible they might change their minds. That underscores the possibility of more shifts in a state where Biden, Sanders, Warren and Buttigieg have each been ahead in one poll or another in recent months.
The Iowa outcome typically narrows the presidential field while providing a burst of momentum for the winner heading into the New Hampshire primary and other contests that follow.
“Joe Biden continues to lead because the number one issue of caucusgoers is to defeat Donald Trump,” said David Paleologos, director of Suffolk’s Political Research Center. The former vice president “positions himself as a safer choice while the other three contenders fight it out below him.”
Trump’s impeachment trial may have reinforced the focus of Democratic voters on electability.
Two-thirds of those polled said they have watched at least some of the trial that began last week. In the end, 77% predicted the Senate won’t convict the president and remove him from office.
Even so, they didn’t view the impeachment proceedings as a waste of time. Seventy-one percent said the trial was “important” even if Trump was acquitted. Nearly 1 in 4, 23%, said the impeachment proceedings had made them more likely to participate in the caucuses, a sign that it may be energizing Democratic-leaning voters.
Asked which issue was most important to them, nearly four in 10 said “defeating Donald Trump,” almost double the 21% who identified health care. Only climate change also was cited by double digits, at 12%.
The poll of 500 likely Democratic caucusgoers, taken by landline and cellphone, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.