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Iowa poll: Warren, Buttigieg, Sanders and Biden in a tight scrape at the top

A new survey of Iowa Democrats finds four candidates vying for the stop spot in the caucus — Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (D-Mass.), South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegScaled-back Pride Month poses challenges for fundraising, outreach Biden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE are bunched at the head of the docket with no clear leader.

The Quinnipiac University poll finds Warren at 20 percent support, followed by Buttigieg at 19 percent, Sanders at 17 percent and Biden at 15 percent. The poll has a 4.5 percentage point margin of error.

Fifty-two percent of likely Democratic voters surveyed said they could still change their minds before the Feb. 3 caucuses.

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Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Mary Snow indicated that Iowa’s caucus is, “A close race with a crowded field of frontrunners.” 

“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.”

Rounding out the field are Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Democrats demand Republican leaders examine election challenges after Georgia voting chaos Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-Minn.) at 5 percent, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook McEnany says Juneteenth is a very ‘meaningful’ day to Trump MORE (D-Calif.) at 4 percent, and businessman Tom SteyerTom SteyerBloomberg wages war on COVID-19, but will he abandon his war on coal? Overnight Energy: 600K clean energy jobs lost during pandemic, report finds | Democrats target diseases spread by wildlife | Energy Dept. to buy 1M barrels of oil Ocasio-Cortez, Schiff team up to boost youth voter turnout MORE, tech entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangGeorge Floyd protests show corporations must support racial and economic equality Andrew Yang discusses his universal basic income pilot program Andrew Yang on the George Floyd protests in Minneapolis MORE, and Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardGabbard drops defamation lawsuit against Clinton It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process 125 lawmakers urge Trump administration to support National Guard troops amid pandemic MORE (D-Hawaii) at 3 percent each. 

Self-described “very liberal” Democrats are splitting their vote between Sanders, at 32 percent, and Warren, at 30 percent. Those who describe themselves as “somewhat liberal” are divided between Warren at 29 percent and Buttigieg at 24 percent.

But “moderate and conservative” Democrats make up half of likely caucusgoers, and these are split between Buttigieg at 19 percent and Biden at 18 percent.

Buttigieg tops the field among white voters with college degrees, while Sanders leads among white voters without a college education. 

Buttigieg is also the top second choice for voters at 17 percent, followed by Warren at 16 percent, Sanders at 13 percent and Biden at 12 percent.

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Among voters whose top candidate is polling at less than 15 percent, Buttigieg is the top second choice at 22 percent, followed by Sanders at 21 percent. This statistic could be an important factor should several low-polling candidates drop out before the caucuses.

One-third of voters said they’re primarily looking for someone who can defeat President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE. Those voters view Biden, Buttigieg and Warren as likeliest to win in a head-to-head matchup against the president.

“For Iowa caucus-goers checking the electability box as their top quality in choosing a candidate, there is no one candidate with a clear edge,” said Snow. “Biden, Warren and Buttigieg are tied among those ranking a 2020 win uppermost in their decision.” 

Health care is the top issue for likely Democrats in Iowa, with 26 percent saying Sanders is strongest on the issue, and 22 percent saying Warren. 

Among those who said they backed Sanders in the caucuses in 2016, 35 percent are still with him, but 23 percent now support Warren and 19 percent support Buttigieg. Among those who backed Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE in 2016, 27 percent now support Biden, followed by 21 percent for Buttigieg and 18 percent for Warren.

The Quinnipiac University survey of 698 likely Iowa Democratic caucusgoers was conducted between Oct. 30 and Nov. 5 and has a 4.5 percentage point margin of error.