South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg landed in third in the latest Suffolk University/USA Today poll. The pollsters asked “500 likely Iowa Democratic caucusgoers.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden remains in first, but only one point in front of Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

The Iowa caucus takes place in 105 days.

The poll had more good news for Buttigieg because 14% of the respondents chose him as their second choice. 22% of them picked Warren in that category.

Buttigieg landed in fifth place in the June poll at 6%. Biden held first place at 24% with Warren behind him at 16%.

Buttigieg has gained more attention after a few strong debates. He made headlines after the fourth debate when he took on Warren because she has not admitted the Medicare for All plan would raise taxes on the middle class.

Biden fell apart in that same debate. Granted, it helped the other candidates went after Warren instead of him. From NBC News:

While the former vice president had a strong finish, he stumbled over his words at points and largely dodged a question about son Hunter’s activities in Ukraine. Biden skated largely unchallenged by others on the stage for much of the night, but when he claimed he’s the only candidate with a record of getting big things done, that was enough for Bernie Sanders, who shot back: “You got the disastrous war in Iraq done!” And when Biden tried to take credit for helping Warren pass the bill in the Senate creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, she pointedly thanked President Barack Obama instead.

It may also help that Buttigieg has more campaign offices in Iowa than the other candidates.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) continues to plummet in polls. She dropped 13 points in this poll. The June poll had her in second at 16%.

She is now at 3% along with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), activist Tom Steyer, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

Some bad news for Buttigieg since the undecided caucusgoers went up 8% in this poll to 29%. About 63% of the respondents, which is two-thirds of the 500, said they may change their minds before the caucus.

David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, wrote it may come down to independents:

The big wildcard is how (and how many) independents (“no party”) will end up caucusing as Democrats, once they’ve changed party registration prior to the caucus. With no competitive Republican caucus, independents in Iowa may wish to be counted in the Democratic caucus. In the poll, Buttigieg was tied with Biden (13%), with Warren (7%) and Sanders (5%) trailing. A whopping 40% of independents were undecided, despite declaring their intention to participate in the Democratic caucus in the poll.

Debates, age, the economy, viability, field presence, and second choice votes. So many wildcards left to play out in the Hawkeye state, and so little time.

While Buttigieg’s strong debate may have caused his surge, Paleologos pointed out the poll showed people have come down with debate fatigue. 64% of those polled in June watched both nights of the debate while only 37% watched the one night debate this month.

[Featured image via YouTube]


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