The field of Democratic presidential candidates is starting to settle into tiers: Joe Biden leads the pack, and Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg are in close competition for second place, a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom/CNN Iowa Poll shows.
Twenty-four percent of Iowa’s likely Democratic caucusgoers say former vice president Biden is their first choice for president. Sanders, a Vermont senator, is the first choice for 16% of poll respondents, while Warren, a Massachusetts senator, and Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, are at 15% and 14% respectively.
No other candidate cracks double digits. California Sen. Kamala Harris comes closest at 7%, and other numbers within the poll indicate some underlying strengths for her.
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke are at 2%.
With full recognition that, since Iowa is a caucus state and polls have no meaning whatever there, it should be clearly understood what that means. In the primary states with proportional allocation of delegates under the byzantine rules that have been set up, only Biden, Sanders, and Warren would get any delegates at all. Buttigieg falls below the 15% cut-off so, although he’s just one point below Warren, it’s bupkis for Buttigieg.
I think that the overwhelming likelihood is that Biden will get an outright majority of delegates in some states, the plurality in most of the others, that Elizabeth Warren could get a majority of the delegates in Massachusetts with a plurality in some, and Sanders could get a plurality of votes in some states. That’s basically what the field will look like coming into the convention. And we haven’t even mentioned the superdelegates.
The media are trying desperately to turn the primaries into a horserace but, unless something dramatic intervenes, it isn’t and won’t be.