WASHINGTON – Sen. Amy Klobuchar receives double-digit support in Iowa caucus polling, according to a Monmouth University survey released Wednesday, possibly creating a five-way fight for the state’s delegates Monday.
In the caucuses, the first in the 2020 race, a candidate must get at least 15% of the votes in a given precinct to move on to the second, final vote, that determines how many delegates they receive.
The Monmouth poll found four Democratic presidential hopefuls who are at or above the 15% viability threshold: former Vice President Joe Biden (23%), Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont (21%), former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (16%) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (15%). Klobuchar is close behind at 10%, followed by billionaire Tom Steyer at 4% and entrepreneur Andrew Yang at 3%.
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It’s the first time a Monmouth poll found Klobuchar with double-digit support in Iowa. Other polls have found her at 10% or more since December: two from Iowa State University, two from Emerson College and one from Focus on Rural America. Her RealClearPolitics polling average in the state shows her at 9% with a steady climb since November.
The final outcome in Iowa will hinge on how many candidates make the 15% cut and whom the supporters of those who don’t make the cut vote for in the second round. Turnout, which has fluctuated widely in recent elections, will have a major affect.
“A turnout swing of as few of 10,000 voters could determine who ‘wins’ the caucus if it is driven by a specific demographic group,” says Patrick Murray, the director of Monmouth University Polling Institute.
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Almost half (45%) of likely participants say they could change their mind on caucus night.
“Caucus electorates are the most difficult to model in polling,” Murray says. “The smartest takeaway from this, or any Iowa poll for that matter, is to be prepared for anything on Monday.”
Asked who they’ll vote for if Klobuchar and Yang make the viability threshold in their precinct, along with the top four polling candidates, 22% of likely caucusgoers say Biden, 22% say Sanders, 17% say Buttigieg, 16% say Warren, 12% say Klobuchar and 5% say Yang.
If Klobuchar and Yang don’t make the cut, Biden jumps ahead of Sanders, 29% to 25%, while 20% back Buttigieg and 19% choose Warren.
“Klobuchar’s performance could be a real game changer in the final delegate allocation out of Iowa,” Murray says.
The poll of 544 likely Democratic caucusgoers was conducted from Jan. 23-27. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.
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