Poll: Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer Picking Up Steam In Iowa

Photos by Julie Fleming

By Pat Rynard

November 16, 2019

A recently-released survey from PPP Polls has good news for Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer in the lead-off caucus state. Both are moving up in the still-crowded Democratic primary, with Klobuchar polling at 9% and Steyer at 6% in Iowa in this survey.

Klobuchar’s new showing has her just outside the top tier of front-runners in Iowa, just four points back from Joe Biden, who came in at 13% support.

The poll, commissioned by End Citizens United, surveyed 715 likely Democratic caucus-goers and was conducted November 5-6.

Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg, meanwhile, topped the poll, much as they have in most recent Iowa polling. Both Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden have fallen out of that top mix, but are still bunched close enough behind to jump back into the lead at some point.

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Here’s the full horserace numbers of those polling above 2%:

Warren: 21%
Buttigieg: 20%
Sanders: 14%
Biden: 13%
Klobuchar: 9%
Steyer: 6%
Harris: 3%
Yang: 3%

Unlike some other Iowa polls, it does not appear that every single candidate’s name in this extensive field was polled, which should be considered.

The results are good news for Klobuchar, who got some newfound momentum after the October presidential debate, where she draw largely positive reviews from a passionate performance. Her campaign saw an influx of money soon afterward, and her numbers in most Iowa polls have started to very slowly rise above the rest of the lower-polling candidates. This is the first one in some time that has her breaking out in a bigger way from that pack and inching her way to the edge of the top four contenders.

Klobuchar has campaigned across Iowa extensively, hitting her 60th Iowa county recently. She’s increasingly seen as the candidate most likely to break out from the bottom tier in Iowa in the final months. Starting Line wrote about those chances earlier this week.

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It’s also another positive sign for Steyer, who has advertised heavily in Iowa since his entrance into the race in July. Last month’s debate was the first one he appeared in, and he’ll be a part of next week’s debate stage as well.

The PPP Poll also had some interesting findings on every candidate’s popularity. High favorable numbers will be especially important on caucus night, because it makes it more likely that Iowans from non-viable candidate groups will move over to that candidate. Highly polarizing candidates with a large amount of detractors may hinder their ability to rack up more delegates beyond their initial group.

Here’s the net positive ratings for the candidates surveyed:

Buttigieg: +65
Warren: +44
Booker: +42
Klobuchar: +33
Biden: +30
Harris: +26
Sanders: +26
Steyer: +18
Yang: +9

Both Steyer and Yang seem like they have the most room to grow, with 32% and 33%, respectively, saying they have no opinion of the candidates, higher than the others on the list.

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The favorability numbers help explain part of the two front-runners’ success. Both Warren and Buttigieg seem to be drawing support from a wide swath of the party, and Buttigieg’s 78% favorability rating runs 12 points ahead of Warren’s 66%. Of course, Buttigieg is likely to draw significant fire from the rest of the field at next week’s debate, so those very high numbers could come back down to earth soon.

Booker’s numbers here, even though he only registered 1% of first-choice support in the horserace poll, continue to show that he has the ability to vey quickly move up in the rankings if he gets some sort of breakout moment.

The poll also looked at a number of issues surrounding money in politics, super PACs and the Citizens United decision, which Starting Line wrote about here.

While the numbers from this PPP Poll were interesting, all eyes will be on the Des Moines Register’s poll that comes out later this evening.


by Pat Rynard
Posted 11/16/19

  • Pat Rynard

    Pat Rynard founded Iowa Starting Line in 2015. He is now Courier Newsroom's National Political Editor, where he oversees political reporters across the country. He still keeps a close eye on Iowa politics, his dog's name is Frank, and football season is his favorite time of year.



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