Poll: Sanders overtakes Biden, Buttigieg gains momentum after Iowa

Poll: Sanders overtakes Biden, Buttigieg gains momentum after Iowa
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Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGOP lawmaker: Democratic Party 'used to be more moderate' 4 reasons why Trump can't be written off — yet Progressives lost the battle for the Democratic Party's soul MORE (I-Vt.) has overtaken former Vice President Joe BidenJoe Biden2020 Democratic Party platform endorses Trump's NASA moon program Don't let Trump distract us from the real threat of his presidency Abrams: Trump 'doing his best to undermine our confidence' in voting system MORE in a new Monmouth University Poll survey released on Tuesday, the latest sign that the Vermont senator has benefited from a burst of momentum following the Iowa caucuses. 

The poll shows Sanders with the support of 26 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters nationally, a 3-point jump since a similar Monmouth poll was released last month. 

But even more drastic was Biden’s dip in support. He fell to just 16 percent support nationally, down from 30 percent last month. 

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Former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegFormer Indiana Gov. Joe Kernan dies How Republicans can embrace environmentalism and win In politics, as in baseball, it ain't over till it's over MORE and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Warren4 reasons why Trump can't be written off — yet Here are top contenders to be Biden's VP Kamala Harris to young Black women at conference: 'I want you to be ambitious' MORE (D-Mass.), meanwhile, are knotted in third place with 13 percent support each. But that’s a significant gain for Buttigieg, who currently leads in the delegate count in Iowa. In last month’s poll, he garnered only 6 percent support.

One other candidate, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, notched double-digit support in the poll, coming in at 11 percent. That’s a 2 point gain over last month’s results. 

The Monmouth poll is the latest to illustrate the boost that Sanders and Buttigieg have received after placing at or near the top in the Iowa caucuses. Both candidates have declared victory in the state, with Sanders asserting that he won the popular vote and Buttigieg leading in the count of state delegate equivalents, the traditional metric by which a winner is declared in the state.

The survey also shows the extent to which Biden’s fourth-place finish in the caucuses has weakened his standing nationally, said Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

“Iowa has had a significant impact on the race, especially for Biden, whose support was always soft and based largely on the perception of electability. Sanders is on the rise, but his gains have come mainly in states that vote after Super Tuesday. There is still time for a number of candidates, including Sanders, to build or lose momentum,” said Murray.

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The Iowa caucuses, the first-in-the-nation nominating contest, has been beset by delays and controversy after technical difficulties and reporting discrepancies delayed the results for days. Even after tallies from all precincts were released last week, apparent errors prompted questions about whether the Iowa Democratic Party was able to deliver a precise account of the vote.

News outlets, including The Associated Press, which typically calls the results of elections, have so far declined to declare a winner in Iowa after reporting errors and inconsistencies raised concerns about the overall accuracy of the tabulations.

The chaos surrounding the caucuses now threatens Iowa’s preeminent position in the presidential nominating calendar. The Monmouth poll found decreasing support among Democrats for keeping the schedule the same, with only 7 percent saying that the party should keep its current system. That’s down from 11 points last month.

Indeed, most Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters — 56 percent — said they support a national primary, in which voters in all 50 states would head to the polls on the same day to cast their vote for their party’s presidential nominee, according to the poll. 

At the same time, nearly 1 in 5 respondents — 19 percent — said they favored grouped primaries, in which several states would hold their nominating contests on the same day. Another 11 percent said they would prefer to have a few other states vote on the same days as Iowa and New Hampshire. 

The Monmouth poll surveyed 357 Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters from Feb. 6-9. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.2 percentage points.