Sanders leads close 4-way battle in early voting Iowa: poll
Bernie Sanders leads a tight race for the Democratic presidential nomination in Iowa for the first time, according to a key poll released Friday weeks before the state kicks off the 2020 voting on February 3.
Four candidates are within five points of one another in the closely watched Des Moines Register poll, the main Iowa newspaper's first statewide survey in two months.
Senator Sanders leads with 20 percent of the vote, a five-point gain since November, followed by fellow liberal Senator Elizabeth Warren at 17 percent, and former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, who sits at 16 percent after a nine-point slide from top spot.
Centrist Joe Biden is at 15 percent in Iowa, but the former vice president is the national frontrunner in the race to see who challenges incumbent President Donald Trump in November.
Senator Amy Klobuchar, from neighboring Minnesota, is in fifth spot in Iowa, well back at six percent, followed by entrepreneur Andrew Yang at five percent and Senator Cory Booker at three percent.
The polling is the latest in a series of good signs for the 78-year-old Sanders, who suffered a heart attack two months ago but has enjoyed a remarkable comeback to cement his status as a top White House contender.
"There's no denying that this is a good poll for Bernie Sanders. He leads, but it's not an uncontested lead," said pollster J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co.
"He's got a firmer grip on his supporters than the rest of his compatriots."
The poll of 701 likely Democratic caucus goers has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.
Sanders is a self-described Democratic socialist who supports universal health care and a massively ambitious policy to arrest climate change -- plans that critics warn will cost tens of trillions of dollars.
Buoyed by fervent young supporters, he is in second place behind Biden nationally and has solidified his position in recent weeks.
He is enjoying his largest lead since May over third-place Warren, who surged during the summer but has seen her support slide since October.