Results of the recently released 2019 Hawkeye Poll show that Elizabeth Warren is gaining a foothold as the front runner among the large field of Democratic candidates in Iowa. With the February 3, 2020 Iowa Caucuses approaching, the poll found that of the 23.1% of respondents who indicated they are very or somewhat likely to participate in the Democratic caucuses, they would vote for Warren if the Democratic caucus were held today. Bernie Sanders was the top choice of 18.1% of respondents, with Pete Buttigieg following at 15.5% and Joe Biden at 15.3%. 12.9% of respondents were uncertain or did not answer the question.
Of respondents who identified themselves as very likely caucus goers, 31.6% reported they would vote for Warren if the Democratic caucuses were held today, compared to 15.5% who indicated Sanders was their preferred candidate. Sanders leads among those somewhat likely to attend the caucuses with 22.3% supporting him compared to 9.6% for Warren. Biden is the first choice of 11.7% of those very likely to attend the caucuses and the first choice of 21.2% of those somewhat likely to attend.
The poll results show most Democratic caucus-goers are still undecided, however. Just under one-third (31.7%) indicated they were strongly committed to their first choice while a majority (50.9%) say that they have narrowed it down to just a few candidates. 17.1% responded they did not yet know who they would support.
Respondents were also asked to name their second choice. Warren also leads here, with 23.6% indicating her as their second choice, Sanders second at 16.1%, Buttigieg third at 11.0%, Kamala Harris fourth at 7.9%, and Biden fifth at 7.2%. 19.3% either did not know or declined to name a second choice.
Respondents indicated candidate positions was the most important characteristic in deciding which candidate they support. 65% responded that candidates with positions similar to theirs on major issues was most important compared to 30.2% who responded that electability was the most important factor. Warren leads among those who rated positions as most important with 29.9% with Sanders at second with 20.1% and Buttigieg third with 12.3%. Among those who indicated that electability was most important, Biden leads with 27.1%, Buttigieg second at 22.7%, Sanders third at 16.6%, and Warren fourth at 11.7%.
“The polling indicates Elizabeth Warren has positioned herself well in Iowa,” says Frederick Boehmke, University of Iowa professor of political science, who serves as faculty advisor of the Hawkeye Poll. “While most potential caucus-goers are still evaluating a handful of candidates, Warren places at the top among respondents’ first and second choices. She also does well among those still narrowing down their choices, and especially well among those very likely to attend the caucuses.”
The Hawkeye Poll was fielded October 28 to November 10, 2019, and was conducted by the Hawkeye Poll Cooperative, comprised of University of Iowa faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students in the political science and sociology departments. The poll is a teaching, research, and service project, which uses the facilities of the Iowa Social Science Research Center directed by Frederick J. Boehmke, professor of political science and faculty advisor for the poll. The Department of Political Science, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the University of Iowa Public Policy Center fund the poll.
For links to the full press release and a story in Iowa Now, visit https://clas.uiowa.edu/polisci/research/hawkeye-poll.