Elizabeth Warren Tops Biden, Sanders in Iowa Poll for First Time in 2020 Democratic Race

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren capped her steady rise to the top of the Democratic 2020 candidates this week, topping previous frontrunner Joe Biden for the first time in the latest Iowa poll.

Warren surged ahead of the former vice president and put some distance between herself and fellow Senator Bernie Sanders in the latest Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll. Warren holds a 2 percentage point lead over Biden with 22 percent of likely Democratic caucus attendees saying she is their primary choice in the 2020 Democratic Party primary race. This week's poll marks the first time Warren has appeared atop the list of candidates.

Biden trails Warren just narrowly with 20 percent of likely Democratic caucus voters throwing their support behind her campaign. And Sanders, who has long rounded out the "top tier" trio of candidates alongside Warren slipped to 11 percent. None of the other candidates in the race have double-digit support.

The Iowa Democratic caucuses are the first nominating contest in the U.S. presidential primary process. The 2020 Iowa Caucus is set to take place on February 3 of next year.

"This is the first major shakeup" in what had been a fairly steady race, said J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll, in an interview with the Des Moines Register. "It's the first time we've had someone other than Joe Biden at the top of the leader board."

Trailing behind the Warren, Biden and Sanders pack of frontrunners is South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg with 9 percent of support. California Senator Kamala Harris sits at 6 percent and U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Cory Booker of New Jersey are at 3 percent.

Warren's rise to the top of the Democratic pack is great news for her campaign but far from a settled matter given that one-in-five of those who responded to the poll said they have not made up their mind. Nearly two-thirds of Democratic caucusgoers said they can still be persuaded to change up their support for another candidate. According to the Iowa newspaper, 602 likely Democratic voters for next year's caucus were polled in the September 14-18 survey.

"The data in this poll seem to suggest the field is narrowing, but my sense is there's still opportunity aplenty," Selzer said. "The leaders aren't all that strong. The universe is not locked in."

The Des Moines Register newspaper's first poll conducted in December 2018 showed Warren had only 8 percent of support, but by June 2019, she had doubled that to about 15 percent.

This latest Iowa poll also reveals that among voters who caucused for Hillary Clinton in 2016, 22 percent voted for Warren and zero voted for Sanders, who also ran against the former Secretary of State.

Elizabeth Warren
Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks during the New Hampshire Democratic Party Convention at the SNHU Arena on September 7 in Manchester, New Hampshire Scott Eisen/Getty