There's a new leader in the Democratic presidential field in Iowa, by one count, and it's not all that close. Pete Buttigieg is the first choice of 25% of Democratic voters who say they're likely to attend the party's caucuses, a new Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll has found. That's a jump of 16 percentage points since September for the mayor of South Bend, Ind., the Des Moines Register reports. That leaves Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Joe Biden to compete for second place, about 10 points behind. Those four have exchanged places in Iowa polls all along, but this is the first time Buttigieg has led. "So this is a new status for him," the pollster said. After those four is a large gap before Amy Klobuchar, at 6%.
That changes at least one analysis of the race. A regular Washington Post ranking now has Buttigieg in its top tier of Democratic candidates, joining Warren, Biden, and Sanders. Buttigieg's surge is genuine, the Post notes; he's been right up there in other polls, just not a clear leader. Buttigieg is doing better in Iowa than anywhere else, which reflects the time and money he's spent there, per CNN. In the past few months, he's built a large campaign organization and made successful appearances, such as his speech at Iowa Democrats' biggest event of the year this month. The new poll found Buttigieg leading by another measure: 63% call his political stances about right, with only 7% saying they're too liberal and 13% finding them too conservative. (Read more Pete Buttigieg 2020 stories.)