With less than two weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses, former Vice President Joe Biden has opened up a 6-point lead there among the top-tier candidates running for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to a new poll.
Biden registered 24 percent support, with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 18 percent, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 16 percent and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 14 percent. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is at 11 percent.
The poll was conducted Jan. 16-18 by Focus on Rural America and included 500 likely Democratic voters. Focus on Rural America, based in Iowa, calls itself a non-partisan group that promotes progressive and economic policies that impact farmers.
The survey was done after last week’s Democratic National Committee debate in Des Moines. One of the more contentious issues that night was about claims Warren has made in saying Sanders told her a woman could not defeat President Donald Trump in November.
That appears to have had an impact on Iowa Democrats, as 12 percent said they would not vote for Warren and 11 percent said the same about Sanders. No other candidate was above 4 percent.
When asked which candidate was best for rural Iowa, regardless of who they are voting for, Klobuchar from neighboring Minnesota was by far the favorite at 29 percent. Biden, Warren, Sanders and Buttigieg were all between 13 and 15 percent.
Biden also topped the field when asked who the respondents would pick as their second choice, also coming in at 24 percent. Buttigieg was at 20 percent on that question and Warren received 14 percent. Klobuchar and Sanders were far behind at 7 and 6 percent, respectively.
In the last Focus on Rural America quarterly poll, released in September, Biden also led with 25 percent support. Warren was also in second at the time, but trailed Biden by just 2 percentage points. Buttigieg was at 12 percent, with Sanders at 9 percent and Klobuchar at 8 percent.
Polling in Iowa in recent weeks has shown no clear leader among the top contenders.
A CNN/Des Moines Register poll from two weeks ago had Sanders in front at 20 percent. Buttigieg, Warren and Biden were bunched together at 17, 16 and 15 percent, respectively.
A CBS News poll from earlier in January actually showed Buttigieg, Sanders and Biden in a three-way tie with Warren at 16 percent.