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Poll: Biden leads in Iowa, with Sanders in close second

Poll: Biden leads in Iowa, with Sanders in close second
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Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden administration still seizing land near border despite plans to stop building wall: report Olympics, climate on the agenda for Biden meeting with Japanese PM Boehner on Afghanistan: 'It's time to pull out the troops' MORE continues to lead in Iowa just before the first-in-the-nation caucuses, but Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders: Trump was right about 'trying to end endless wars' Democrats battle over best path for Puerto Rico Bernie Sanders says he disagrees with Tlaib's call for 'no more police' MORE (I-Vt.) is closing the gap between himself and the front-runner, according to a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday.

The poll, conducted from Jan. 23-27, found Biden with 23 percent support among likely Democratic caucusgoers, roughly on par with a previous Monmouth survey from earlier this month that showed him at 24 percent in the Hawkeye State.

Sanders, however, is within the margin of error for first place, notching 21 percent in the latest poll — a 3-point gain since the early January survey.

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Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegWhite House says gas tax won't be part of infrastructure bill The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden meets with bipartisan lawmakers for infrastructure negotiations Senate Republicans label Biden infrastructure plan a 'slush fund' MORE and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocrats reintroduce bill to block US from using nuclear weapons first CEO who gave employees K minimum wage says revenue tripled 6 years later Forgiving K in school loans would free 36 million student borrowers from debt: data MORE (D-Mass.), meanwhile, are neck and neck, scoring 16 percent and 15 percent, respectively. Another contender, Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: Biden nominates former NSA deputy director to serve as cyber czar | Apple to send witness to Senate hearing after all | Biden pressed on semiconductor production amid shortage Apple to send witness to Senate hearing after pushback from Klobuchar, Lee Lobbying world MORE (D-Minn.), took 10 percent in the poll, marking the first time since launching her presidential bid last year that she has scored in double digits in Iowa.

The survey suggests that, just five days out from the Iowa caucuses, the presidential race in the state is wide open, with no candidate having a clear advantage heading into caucus day.

What’s more, 45 percent of likely caucusgoers surveyed expressed at least some degree of openness to supporting a candidate other than their current first choice at the caucuses. Another 47 percent said they were firmly decided on their candidate of choice. 

That matters in the caucuses, where voters are charged with persuading their peers whose candidate of choice isn’t considered viable to back their preferred candidate instead.

In most Iowa precincts, candidates need to win at least 15 percent support to be considered viable. Caucusgoers whose candidates don’t meet that threshold will then have to realign and support a different candidate.

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Warren is the candidate most frequently cited as likely caucusgoers’ second choice, with 19 percent saying they would back the Massachusetts senator if not their No. 1 pick. Biden takes second place in that category, with 16 percent putting him in their No. 2 spot, while Buttigieg comes in third, with 13 percent.

Only 11 percent of respondents said Sanders was their second choice in the Democratic field. 

The Monmouth University poll surveyed 1,345 registered Democrats and unaffiliated voters in Iowa from Jan. 23-27. It has a margin of error of 4.2 percentage points.