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Buttigieg, Sanders rise in final poll ahead of Iowa caucuses

 
The new poll, conducted for the Democratic group Focus on Rural America by party pollster David Binder, found Buttigieg leading the field with 19 percent of the vote. Sanders trailed with 17 percent of the vote, a statistically insignificant disadvantage. 
 
Both gained 3 points since the last Focus on Rural America poll, conducted in early January.
 
Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenMcCarthy says he told Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene he disagreed with her impeachment articles against Biden Biden, Trudeau agree to meet next month Fauci infuriated by threats to family MORE and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden's Interior Department temporarily blocks new drilling on public lands | Group of GOP senators seeks to block Biden moves on Paris, Keystone | Judge grants preliminary approval for 0M Flint water crisis settlement Senate approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee House approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee MORE (D-Mass.) each took 15 percent of the vote, suggesting downward trajectories for two candidates who had led earlier surveys conducted by the same pollster. Warren’s share declined 3 points from the early January survey, while Biden’s support dropped by 9 points.
 
Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDemocrats seek answers on impact of Russian cyberattack on Justice Department, Courts A Day in Photos: The Biden Inauguration Senators vet Buttigieg to run Transportation Department MORE (D-Minn.) took 11 percent of the vote, just under the 15 percent viability threshold necessary to claim delegates when the votes are counted. 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 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) each took just 3 percent of the vote, and no one else climbed above 1 percent.
 
Warren is the top second choice among voters, taking 20 percent and suggesting she may have the strongest upside potential. Seventeen percent each said Biden and Klobuchar were their second choices, and 13 percent said Sanders would be number two on their list if their chosen candidate is not viable. Buttigieg clocked in fifth, at 10 percent.
 
The race remains in flux even hours before Iowans head to the caucuses. Only 51 percent of Iowa voters said they were completely certain to stick with their chosen candidates. 
 
“If anyone tells you they know what’s going to happen tonight, they’re making it up,” said Jeff Link, the co-founder of the rural group. 
 
More Iowa voters — 26 percent — believe Biden has the best chance of beating President TrumpDonald TrumpMcCarthy says he told Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene he disagreed with her impeachment articles against Biden Biden, Trudeau agree to meet next month Trump planned to oust acting AG to overturn Georgia election results: report MORE in November than any other candidate. But Biden’s lead in the electability category, a cornerstone of his pitch to Iowa Democrats, has eroded in recent months.
 
Buttigieg, who has stumped at a frenetic pace across Iowa in recent months, has the highest favorable rating among state Democratic voters. Sixty-nine percent said they see him favorably, just above the 68 percent who said the same about Warren. More than 6 in 10 Iowa Democrats see Biden (62 percent), Klobuchar (63 percent) and Sanders (64 percent) favorably.
 
The least-favorably viewed Democratic presidential candidate, the poll found, is the one who is not competing for Iowa’s votes. Just 30 percent of Iowa Democrats said they had a favorable impression of former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who has poured millions into television ads in every state except Iowa. Fifty percent said they see Bloomberg unfavorably.
 
The poll, conducted Jan. 28-30, surveyed 300 likely caucusgoers and reports a margin of error of plus or minus 5.7 percentage points. That high margin means all four of the top contenders have a realistic shot at winning the caucuses.
 
The high number of undecided and potentially persuadable voters, coupled with the realignment allowed after a first round of voting, means the actual winner is likely to finish with somewhere north of 30 percent of the delegate vote, Link said.