Support for South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg Jumping in Iowa, Polls Show

October 25, 2019 Updated: October 25, 2019

Recent polls show increased support for South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg in Iowa, which holds the earliest primary in the nation.

Buttigieg is vying for the Democratic presidential nomination.

An Iowa State University poll (pdf) released this week showed Buttigieg with 20 percent support, behind only Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), who had 28 percent.

Buttigieg was ahead of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who had 18 percent, and former Vice President Joe Biden, who had 12 percent.

The poll was conducted from Oct. 18 to Oct. 22, sampling 598 likely Democratic caucus voters, and had a margin of error of plus/minus 5 percent.

A Suffolk University poll (pdf) also released this week showed Buttigieg at 13 percent, behind Biden (18 percent) and Warren (17 percent).

Over a third of respondents chose Buttigieg when asked who did better than they expected in the Oct. 15 debate. The question enabled multiple-choice answers; Buttigieg was first and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) was second with 28 percent.

Buttigieg clashed with other candidates on stage, vying with former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) on gun control proposals , differing with fellow veteran Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) over how involved the U.S. military should be in other countries, and criticizing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for avoiding questions about how to fund Medicare for All while plugging his plan, which he calls Medicare for All Who Want It.

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, right, speaks as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) looks on during the Democratic Presidential Debate at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio on Oct. 15, 2019. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

“No plan has been laid out to explain how a multi-trillion-dollar hole in this Medicare for All plan that Sen. Warren is putting forward is supposed to get filled in,” he said during the debate.

“We take a version of Medicare, we let you access it if you want to, and if you prefer to stay on your private plan, you can do that too,” he added.

The Suffolk poll was conducted between Oct. 16 and Oct. 19, sampling 500 likely Democratic caucus voters. It had a margin of error of plus/minus 4.4 percent.

An Emerson Polling survey released last week showed Buttigieg in third with 16 percent support, behind Biden and Warren. The frontrunners were tied at 23 percent.

“Mayor Pete appears to have solidified his base in Iowa, going from 0 percent in February, to 11 percent in March, and now 16 percent in the Hawkeye state,” Spencer Kimball, the director of Emerson Polling, said in a statement.

The poll was conducted from Oct. 13 to Oct. 16, sampling 317 likely Democratic caucus voters.

Nationwide, though, Buttigieg hasn’t gained much ground. His polling average sat at 7 percent in the last two weeks, about the same as the last six months. The last six polls showed him squarely in fourth, well-behind Biden, Warren, and Sanders.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber