Biden holds slim lead over Sanders in Iowa: poll

Biden holds slim lead over Sanders in Iowa: poll
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Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden calls for equal pay for US women's soccer team Biden calls for equal pay for US women's soccer team Yang: Standing next to Biden on debate stage would help boost name recognition MORE has a slim 2-point edge ahead of Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersConfused by polls? Watch early primary states — not national numbers Confused by polls? Watch early primary states — not national numbers Biden leads in early voting states, followed by Warren, Sanders: poll MORE (I-Vt.) in Iowa according to a Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom poll released Saturday.

Though Biden still has yet to officially declare his candidacy, he leads the pack of 20 declared and potential candidates in the state with the support of 27 percent of likely Iowa caucus voters, but that number is down slightly from 32 percent in December.

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Sanders came in second with 25 percent, followed by Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden calls for equal pay for US women's soccer team Biden calls for equal pay for US women's soccer team Trump steadfast in denials as support for impeachment grows MORE (D-Mass.) with 9 percent, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBiden calls for equal pay for US women's soccer team Biden calls for equal pay for US women's soccer team Confused by polls? Watch early primary states — not national numbers MORE (D-Calif.) with 7 percent and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) with 5 percent.

“If I’m Joe Biden sitting on the fence and I see this poll, this might make me want to jump in,” said J. Ann Selzer, president of the Des Moines-based Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll. “I just can’t find much in this poll that would be a red flag for Joe Biden.” 

About 70 percent of respondents said Biden’s political views are “about right” and don’t lean too liberal or conservative. About 64 percent said his experience is an asset and that he should at least run.

Biden, who would be running for president for the third time in 2020 if he throws his hat into the ring, has been mulling a White House bid for months and is expected to officially jump in the race in the coming months.

Meanwhile Sanders, who announced his candidacy last month, has seen his support in Iowa go up 6 percent since December. He narrowly lost to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats' 2020 Achilles's heel: The Senate Democrats' 2020 Achilles's heel: The Senate House Intel Republican: 'Foolish' not to take info on opponent from foreign ally MORE in the Iowa caucus in 2016. However, 44 percent of likely caucus goers say he is “too liberal,” while 48 percent say his views are “just right.”

Much of Biden and Sanders’ support overlaps, though, with 30 percent of respondents who say Biden is their first choice opting to support sanders should the former vice president not run. 

Iowa has proven in election cycles past to be a crucial caucus state, with its early contest often setting the tone for the primary race.

The poll surveyed 401 likely Democratic caucus voters from March 3-6 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent.