Poll: Sanders takes lead in Iowa less than a month before vote

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersNew campaign ad goes after Sanders by mentioning heart attack Biden on whether Sanders can unify party as nominee: 'It depends' Steyer rebukes Biden for arguing with supporter he thought was Sanders voter MORE (I-Vt.) has taken the lead in Iowa, according to a Des Moines Register/CNN poll released on Friday that shows the Vermont senator jumping past his top rivals after a third-place finish in the same survey in November.

The poll, widely considered the most authoritative in Iowa, shows Sanders with the support of 20 percent of likely Democratic caucusgoers. He's trailed closely by another progressive, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden on whether Sanders can unify party as nominee: 'It depends' Overnight Health Care — Presented by Philip Morris International — HHS has no plans to declare emergency over coronavirus | GOP senator calls for travel ban to stop outbreak | Warren releases plan to contain infectious diseases Biden lines up high-profile surrogates to campaign in Iowa MORE (D-Mass.), who registered 17 percent in the survey.

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegBiden on whether Sanders can unify party as nominee: 'It depends' Biden lines up high-profile surrogates to campaign in Iowa Hill.TV's Krystal Ball: Failure to embrace Sanders as nominee would 'destroy' Democratic Party MORE and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenPerry delegation talking points stressed pushing Ukraine to deal with 'corruption' GOP senator airs anti-Biden ad in Iowa amid impeachment trial Biden photobombs live national news broadcast at one of his rallies MORE round out the top four, notching 16 percent and 15 percent support, respectively. 

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Still, Sanders’s lead in Iowa is narrow – within the poll’s 3.7 percent margin of error – suggesting that the race in the Hawkeye State remains wide open with less than a month to go before the first-in-the-nation caucuses.

The Des Moines Register poll shows that Iowa remains a four-person race. No other candidate managed to register in double digits. Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharSanders opens up 15-point lead in New Hampshire: Poll Poll: 56 percent of Democrats say billionaire politicians more likely to cater to special interests Support for Biden, Sanders ticks up nationally: poll MORE (D-Minn.), an underdog who’s banking on a strong finish in Iowa to lend momentum to her campaign, notched 6 percent in the poll, while former tech executive Andrew YangAndrew YangPoll: 56 percent of Democrats say billionaire politicians more likely to cater to special interests Support for Biden, Sanders ticks up nationally: poll The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump lawyers to offer closing arguments on day 7 MORE finished just below her, with 5 percent support.

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerOvernight Defense: White House threatens to veto House Iran bills | Dems 'frustrated' after Iran briefing | Lawmakers warn US, UK intel sharing at risk after Huawei decision White House Correspondents' Association blasts State for 'punitive action' against NPR Senate Democrat demands State Department reinstate NPR reporter on Pompeo trip MORE (D-N.J.) also failed to gain ground in the poll, coming in with just 3 percent support. That’s unchanged from the Register’s November poll.

The poll is welcome news for Sanders, who rose 5 points since the last Des Moines Register poll was released in November. That survey showed Buttigieg surging to the front of the pack with 25 percent support.

But Buttigieg’s political fortunes in the state appear to be reversing. He’s faced criticism in recent weeks for his fundraising practices, especially from Warren, who pointedly attacked the former Indiana mayor at last month’s Democratic presidential debate for holding a fundraiser at a so-called “wine cave” in California.

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The number of likely caucusgoers who say their minds are made up on who they will support in the Feb. 3 caucuses has risen, as well. Forty percent of respondents said they are sure of their choice. But that still leaves 45 percent who say they could still change their minds, and 13 percent who have not yet picked a favorite candidate, according to the poll.

Things could still change in Iowa in the weeks leading up to the caucuses. The five senators running for the Democratic nomination are facing President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Don Lemon explains handling of segment after Trump criticism NPR reporter after Pompeo clash: Journalists don't interview government officials to score 'political points' Lawyer says Parnas can't attend Senate trial due to ankle bracelet MORE’s impending impeachment trial, which is expected to begin next week. That means that they will be stuck in Washington, while candidates like Buttigieg and Biden will be free to campaign in the Hawkeye State.

At the same time, the Iowa caucuses are famously difficult to forecast, because unlike primaries, they involve showing up to a specific location at a specific time – and in the dead of winter – while caucusgoers work to persuade fellow voters to support their preferred candidate.

Because caucusgoers can change their minds on caucus night, second-choice preferences are considered crucial. Warren and Buttigieg were the two candidates most frequently mentioned as caucusgoers’ second choices, picked by 16 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

Twelve percent said that Biden is their second choice in the state, while just as many said Sanders is their No. 2 pick, according to the poll.

The Des Moines Register/CNN poll surveyed 701 likely Democratic caucusgoers in Iowa from Jan. 2-8. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

-- Updated at 6:38 p.m.