Joe Biden drops to fourth place in new Iowa poll

November 7, 2019

Joe Biden may be the “frontrunner” in the overall primary race, but his lead is clearly dwindling.

The former vice president placed fourth in a newly-released poll testing his support in Iowa, just weeks before the state’s all-important caucuses, the Washington Examiner reports.

Biden polled behind Sens. Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Bernie Sanders (VT), as well as South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Biden drops to fourth in Iowa poll

The Quinnipiac University poll found that 20% of likely primary voters supported Warren, while 19% and 17% supported Buttigieg and Sanders, respectively. Biden fell behind with just 15%.

“While Senator Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Senator Bernie Sanders have held top tier status in national polls for months, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg joins their ranks in the 2020 Iowa caucus. And it’s a race that is up for grabs. Half of likely Democratic caucus-goers who support a candidate say they may change their minds before Feb. 3,” polling analyst Mary Snow said.

The poll is the latest sign that Biden’s once-comfortable position as the uncontested frontrunner is a thing of the past. Warren has been neck-and-neck with Biden in recent weeks, and has even surpassed him in some national polls.

Biden has been slumping in primary polls too, as evinced by the Quinnipiac poll and a New York Times/Siena College poll that also placed him in fourth in the Hawkeye state. The Biden campaign is banking on support from black voters in South Carolina, but Biden’s primary lead has dropped there as well, although he is still leading that contest by double digits, according to The Hill.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) received 5% support in the Quinnipiac poll, beating out Kamala Harris (D-CA), once considered by the media to be a top contender, but who now languishes at 4% despite a desperate campaign pivot to focus on Iowa. Some 698 likely Iowa Democratic caucusgoers were surveyed in the poll, which has a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.

Campaign troubles mount

Although Biden is still the presumed frontrunner, his campaign has faced a series of headaches and setbacks that raise questions about his electability. Biden has had to address speculation about his age, an issue that grew more worrisome amid a series of gaffes and unsteady debate performances.

The Biden campaign has also been wrapped up in the international imbroglio over Ukraine, although it isn’t clear whether it has made a strong impact on his polling numbers. More troublesome for Biden is a lackluster fundraising operation that has fallen behind top competitors like Warren, who outraised him by some $10 million in the last quarter, according to CNBC.

But the big picture might be that the race remains a fluid one: voters who described themselves as “very liberal” were split in the Quinnipiac poll between Warren and Sanders, while “somewhat liberal” voters were divided between Warren and Buttigieg, according to Fox. Biden and Buttigieg split the “moderate and conservative” Democrats between them, reflecting Buttigieg’s potential rise as a moderate alternative to the former vice president.

More than a third of respondents said that beating Donald Trump was their top priority, and that they view Biden, Buttigieg, and Warren as the top contenders in that regard. That might not be so reassuring, though, to progressive voters looking for a clear champion to take on Donald Trump.

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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.