No other candidate, including MA senator Elizabeth Warren (9%), former NY mayor Michael Bloomberg and New Jersey senator Cory Booker (both 4%), returned better than single-digit support. Only six candidates have qualified, including Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, Biden, Klobuchar, and Tom Steyer (D).
Another billionaire who has weak support in Iowa but is also spending heavily on ads and rising in the polls elsewhere is former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Cory Booker at 4%, and businessman Andrew Yang at 3%.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, the only African American candidate besides Booker, also received less than 1% support. Candidates with the highest averages were placed in the center of the stage. "He leads, but it's not an uncontested lead", pollster J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll, told the Des Moines Register.
Iowa voters cast ballots in February 3 party caucuses in the first contest in the state-by-state process of selecting a Democratic challenger to Republican President Donald Trump in the November 3 general election.
This is the first time Sanders was chosen as the top pick for president in an Iowa poll. The poll published Friday had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. The poll was conducted January 3-7 and included 600 likely MI voters.
Banking on late momentum, Klobuchar is counting on Iowa, a neighboring Midwestern state, to propel her into the top echelon of the Democratic primaries heading into the early voting states of New Hampshire, Nevada and SC.
Finishing among the top three in Iowa has been crucial for candidates seeking their party's nomination in past presidential races, with those who fail to do so often finding their campaigns ending before voters in New Hampshire head to the polls for the second nominating contest.
Candidates were eagerly awaiting the release of the Iowa poll, which will factor heavily into their strategies to win over and turn out voters in the final stretch.
This dynamic has not changed much in recent months. CNN's Wolf Blitzer and Abby Phillip, as well as The Des Moines Register's Brianne Pfannenstiel, will moderate the debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
Since skyrocketing ahead of his rivals in an earlier Iowa poll in November by the same group, Buttigieg notably fell 9 percentage points, placing him in third among Democratic presidential candidates in the race.