April 15, 2019
He had virtually no name recognition just a few months ago (and those few who knew his surname could not pronounce it), but Pete Buttigieg is now a rising star among the growing ranks of Democrats who have announced for the 2020 presidential race.
Biden leads the 2020 Democratic presidential field in Iowa, according to findings of a poll released April 11 that also suggests Pete Buttigieg—a small-city mayor from Indiana is gaining significant traction with likely caucus-goers, Politico reported.
The Monmouth University poll shows that Biden, who hasn’t officially entered the race, is the first choice of roughly one-quarter of likely caucus-goers, at 27%. He’s followed by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) with 16%; and Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, with 9%.
That very unexpectedly places Buttigieg marginally ahead of a handful of candidates who entered the race with more established profiles: Sensators Kamala Harris (D-California) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) are at 7 %, former Representative has 4% of the vote; and Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey.) is bringing up the rear at 3%.
The last nonpartisan poll in Iowa—conducted a month ago for CNN, the Des Moines Register, and Mediacom, a local cable company — also had Biden atop the field with 27%. Sanders was closer, with 25% of the vote. But Buttigieg was an also-ran in that survey, with just 1%.
In the interim, however, Buttigieg has been headlining the news due to a fracas with Vice President Mike Pence, whom the candidate worked with as governor of Indiana before the 2016 elections.
Pence, who comes from the ranks of the religious right, is not a supporter of gay unions. Buttigieg, who is gay and married, recently said, “”If me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade. And that’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand. That if you [have] got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me — your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
Not only did voters seem to like that argument, but they like the fact that Buttigieg, the first Millennial to run for president (at age 37), has been a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, a graduate of Harvard University, and a lieutenant in the Navy Reserve who served in Afghanistan, in addition to the mayor of South Bend.
According to Politico, Buttigieg still lags most of the other major candidates in name recognition, the poll shows. Nearly a quarter of caucus-goers (24%) say they haven’t heard of the mayor of the nation’s 301st-largest city; compared to 3%percent who haven’t heard of Warren, 7% who haven’t heard of O’Rourke, 10% percent for Harris and 11 % for Booker. (Biden and Sanders have universal name-ID among Democrats.)
But Buttigieg has his fans: 45 percent of caucusgoers view him favorably, while 9 percent have an unfavorable opinion of him. The remaining 22 percent say they have heard of Buttigieg but don’t have an opinion of the 37-year-old candidate.
The Monmouth poll was conducted April 4-9, among 351 likely Democratic caucus-goers.
Research contact: @politico