Bernie Sanders Takes Strong Lead in Iowa Caucus


  • Sen. Bernie Sanders just surged to lead the pack of Democratic candidates in 2020’s Iowa Caucus. Joe Biden is trailing in fourth place.
  • The Iowa Caucus is only three weeks away on Feb. 3. Sources say Democrats are taking Sanders very seriously. Donald Trump is too.
  • Bernie Sanders is favored over former VP Joe Biden by a wider margin than Barack Obama led Hillary Clinton in 2008.

With less than a month before the first in nation Democratic primary, the Iowa Caucus, Sen. Bernie Sanders just took a commanding lead in the polls.

A Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll finds 20% of likely caucus goers named Sanders as their top choice for president. It’s not looking good for Joe Biden, who’s been leading in national polls for the last year.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren placed second in the poll with 17%. Mayor Pete Buttigieg came in third with 16%. With 15% of caucus goers favoring Joe Biden, the Democratic “frontrunner” seems doomed to a fourth place finish in Iowa.

That could be enough to knock him out of the primary in subsequent rounds, the way Hillary Clinton’s third place finish in Iowa hindered her campaign the rest of 2008.

Iowa Is Feeling The Bern

Source: “Iowa Poll of 701 likely 2020 Democratic caucus-goers, Jan. 2-8. Margin of error: plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. Totals may not add to 100% due to rounding.”

Sanders wouldn’t necessarily even need the lead to win in Iowa. The Iowa caucuses are unlike primaries in other states. Voters don’t simply enter a booth and cast a ballot.

Groups of supporters caucus together by standing in areas designated for each candidate. They move around and try to convince others to join their group over multiple rounds of caucusing and realigning until a winner emerges.

It’s a process that favors candidates with enthusiastic supporters like Bernie Sanders. That’s why The New York Times calls Iowa “a state where enthusiasm can make or break a candidate on caucus night.”

This election cycle’s Iowa Caucus has all the makings of 2008. Back then, Barack Obama led Hillary Clinton 32% – 25% a month before the caucus.

While the 7-point spread is nominally higher than the 5-points separating Joe Biden from Bernie Sanders, the more crowded field this year makes it a bigger lead for Sanders.

Obama had 28% more supporters in Iowa than Clinton with this many days left before the caucus. Sanders has 33% more than Biden today.

Is Bernie Sanders The Real Frontrunner Now?

Bernie Sanders’ strong position going into the Iowa Caucus is the latest in a string of potent victories for the Vermont Senator and “Justice Democrat.”

His poll numbers surged in December as Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s fell, putting Sanders squarely in second place behind Joe Biden.

And he literally gave Biden a run for his money. Sanders raised $34.5 million in donations last quarter, over $10 million more than Biden’s haul.

Overall since the 2020 primary began, Bernie has raised more in campaign cash ($108 million) than any presidential candidate except for Donald Trump.

Alarm that Sanders will be their party’s nominee in 2020 is spreading among establishment Democrats like former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Trump’s reelection campaign is stepping up its attacks on Bernie Sanders as well.

It might not be too early to speculate on who he’d nominate for VP.

This article was edited by Gerelyn Terzo.

Last modified: January 11, 2020 8:47 PM UTC