South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg jumps to double digits, third place in Emerson's Iowa poll

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at Progress iowa Holiday Party in Des Moines.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at Progress iowa Holiday Party in Des Moines.

In Emerson’s second poll of the Iowa caucus, former Vice President Joe Biden narrowly leads the Democratic field with 25%, followed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders at 24%. Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana has surged to 11%. Senator Kamala Harris of California follows with 10% - the only other candidate to clear double digits in Iowa. Data was collected between March 21-24, and the Democratic caucus ballot test had a margin of error +/- 6.2%

Spencer Kimball, Director of the Emerson Poll concludes that “the biggest surprise in this poll is Mayor Pete, last week we saw him inching up in our national poll, and now he’s in double digits in Iowa, America is going to be asking who is ‘Mayor Pete’?” In Emerson’s January Iowa poll, prior to many candidates’ announcements, Biden led with 29%, followed by Harris,who had made her announcement just prior to the poll, at 18%, and Sanders, who had not yet formally declared, at 15%. Mayor Pete Buttigieg was polling at 0%. 

Sanders maintains a lead among 18-29 year olds with 44%, followed by Buttigieg with 22%. Biden leads among all other age groups with 32% support among 30-49 year olds, 29% among 50-64 year olds, and 31% among those 65 years or older. Kimball notes that, “If Buttigieg is able to maintain his momentum, his candidacy appears to be pulling from the same demographic of young voters as Sanders, and that could become a problem for Sanders.”

Among those who supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Iowa caucus, Biden leads with 29%, followed by Sanders with 17%, and Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren with 15%. Of those who supported Sanders in 2016 - 36% still support him, 24% support Biden, 12% support Harris, and 8% support Buttigieg.

President Trump is in a comfortable position for re-election as the Republican party’s nominee in Iowa, with 90% of voters indicating that they would support him over former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, who received 10%. In a head-to-head matchup between President Trump and Michael Bloomberg, President Trump had a larger lead of 92% to 7% among Republican caucus-goers. (sample size n=207, +/-6.9%). However, Trump's approval in the state has worsened to 42% approve/51% disapprove in comparison to Emerson's February poll that had 46% approve/48% disapprove.