Iowa poll: Warren, Buttigieg, Sanders and Biden in a tight scrape at the top

A new survey of Iowa Democrats finds four candidates vying for the stop spot in the caucus — Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenTim Ryan says he's 'looking seriously' at running for Portman's Senate seat Leahy, not Roberts, to preside over impeachment trial Skepticism reigns as Biden, McConnell begin new era MORE (D-Mass.), South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegExclusive 'Lucky' excerpt: Vow of Black woman on Supreme Court was Biden turning point The Hill's Morning Report - Biden's crisis agenda hits headwinds Biden signs order to require masks on planes and public transportation MORE, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTim Ryan says he's 'looking seriously' at running for Portman's Senate seat Bernie Sanders has been most-followed member of Congress on social media for six years This week: Senate stuck in limbo MORE (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBudowsky: A Biden-McConnell state of emergency summit DC might win US House vote if it tries Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman inks deal with IMG Models MORE are bunched at the head of the docket with no clear leader.

The Quinnipiac University poll finds Warren at 20 percent support, followed by Buttigieg at 19 percent, Sanders at 17 percent and Biden at 15 percent. The poll has a 4.5 percentage point margin of error.

Fifty-two percent of likely Democratic voters surveyed said they could still change their minds before the Feb. 3 caucuses.


Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Mary Snow indicated that Iowa's caucus is, "A close race with a crowded field of frontrunners." 

“While Senator Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Senator Bernie Sanders have held top tier status in national polls for months, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg joins their ranks in the 2020 Iowa caucus. And it's a race that is up for grabs.”

Rounding out the field are Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharSenators spar over validity of Trump impeachment trial Sunday shows - Biden agenda, Trump impeachment trial dominate Klobuchar says Senate impeachment trial of former official is constitutional: 'We have precedent' MORE (D-Minn.) at 5 percent, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisInaugural poet Amanda Gorman inks deal with IMG Models Overnight Defense: Biden lifts Trump's transgender military ban | Democrats, advocates celebrate end of ban | 5,000 guardsmen staying in DC through mid-March The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP senator retires MORE (D-Calif.) at 4 percent, and businessman Tom SteyerTom SteyerOn The Trail: The political losers of 2020 Biden Cabinet picks largely unify Democrats — so far Late donor surges push election spending projections to new heights MORE, tech entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangYang to quarantine after campaign staffer tests positive for COVID-19 Andrew Yang sparks Twitter uproar with pro-bodega video Yang announces run for New York City mayor MORE, and Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardTulsi Gabbard blasts new House rules on gender neutral language as 'height of hypocrisy' A vaccine, a Burrito and more: 7 lighter, memorable moments from 2020 Growing number of House Republicans warm to proxy voting MORE (D-Hawaii) at 3 percent each. 

Self-described “very liberal” Democrats are splitting their vote between Sanders, at 32 percent, and Warren, at 30 percent. Those who describe themselves as “somewhat liberal” are divided between Warren at 29 percent and Buttigieg at 24 percent.

But “moderate and conservative” Democrats make up half of likely caucusgoers, and these are split between Buttigieg at 19 percent and Biden at 18 percent.

Buttigieg tops the field among white voters with college degrees, while Sanders leads among white voters without a college education. 

Buttigieg is also the top second choice for voters at 17 percent, followed by Warren at 16 percent, Sanders at 13 percent and Biden at 12 percent.

Among voters whose top candidate is polling at less than 15 percent, Buttigieg is the top second choice at 22 percent, followed by Sanders at 21 percent. This statistic could be an important factor should several low-polling candidates drop out before the caucuses.

One-third of voters said they’re primarily looking for someone who can defeat President TrumpDonald TrumpSchumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn't need a lot of witnesses Nurse to be tapped by Biden as acting surgeon general: report Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency MORE. Those voters view Biden, Buttigieg and Warren as likeliest to win in a head-to-head matchup against the president.

"For Iowa caucus-goers checking the electability box as their top quality in choosing a candidate, there is no one candidate with a clear edge," said Snow. "Biden, Warren and Buttigieg are tied among those ranking a 2020 win uppermost in their decision." 

Health care is the top issue for likely Democrats in Iowa, with 26 percent saying Sanders is strongest on the issue, and 22 percent saying Warren. 

Among those who said they backed Sanders in the caucuses in 2016, 35 percent are still with him, but 23 percent now support Warren and 19 percent support Buttigieg. Among those who backed Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSenate to vote Tuesday on Biden's secretary of State pick Portman planned exit sets off Ohio free-for-all Biden must wait weekend for State Department pick MORE in 2016, 27 percent now support Biden, followed by 21 percent for Buttigieg and 18 percent for Warren.

The Quinnipiac University survey of 698 likely Iowa Democratic caucusgoers was conducted between Oct. 30 and Nov. 5 and has a 4.5 percentage point margin of error.