Fight for Democratic nomination may go all the way to convention floor , After a full year of stumping and sniping, only 25 days remain before the crucial Iowa caucuses. If that makes you sad, cheer up
Early-state polling has been scarce since the start of the holiday season. But this week new surveys from Iowa and New Hampshire finally surfaced, and they both showed the same thing: a tie at the top.
In the three candidates — Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg — all received the exact same level of support (23 percent); Elizabeth Warren trailed by 7 points.
Meanwhile, a Granite State Monmouth poll out Thursday found Buttigieg with 20 percent, Biden with 19 percent and Sanders with 18 percent — another statistical draw. (Warren lagged at 15 percent.)
And those polls aren’t outliers; the RealClearPolitics averages in both states show Biden, Sanders and Buttigieg clustered in a narrow 2-or-3-point range.
This isn’t entirely unprecedented. In the 2008 Iowa Democratic caucuses, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards were fairly evenly matched right up until caucus night.
But two-candidate Iowa contests have been far more common in recent cycles: Clinton vs. Bernie Sanders; Donald Trump vs. Ted Cruz; Mitt Romney vs. Rick Santorum in 2012; Romney vs. Mike Huckabee in 2008.
And even that year the spread among Democrats in Iowa was bigger than it is now, Edwards wasn’t tied with Clinton and Obama in New Hampshire as well — and there wasn’t a fourth high-polling candidate further dividing the pie.
In 2008, Obama and Clinton kept campaigning through the final primaries; Clinton didn’t concede until early June. So it’s conceivable that this year’s even more unusual dynamic could lead to an even more extraordinary outcome ,