Suffolk University/USA Today Poll Shows Biden Leading in Iowa

Support for Sanders, Biden & Buttigieg grows, while Warren’s has ebbed

Majority unconcerned that impeachment curtails senators’ campaigning leading up to caucuses

Former Vice President Joe Biden leads Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg in Iowa, according to a new Suffolk University/USA TODAY network poll of likely Democratic caucus-goers. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is trailing the front-runners.

Biden (25 percent) led Sanders (19 percent), Buttigieg (18 percent), Warren (13 percent), and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (6 percent), with no other candidate above 3 percent and 13 percent undecided. Sanders (+10 points) and Biden (+7 points) showed marked improvement when compared to their standing in a Suffolk University/USA TODAY network poll taken this past October. Buttigieg (+5 points) and Klobuchar (+3 points) also gained, while Warren (-4 points) was the only top tier candidate who lost support.

Nearly two-thirds of the fieldwork for the poll was completed before the Des Moines Register published its endorsement of Warren on Saturday evening.

“Joe Biden continues to lead because the number one issue of caucus-goers is to defeat Donald Trump, and they appear to believe the former vice president has the best chance of victory in November,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “Biden parlays overwhelming support among elderly and moderate caucus-goers and positions himself as a safer choice, while the next three contenders fight it out below him.”

Demographics & issues

Biden had 41 percent support among voters age 65 and older, with the next closest contender, Warren, at 11 percent. Among moderate voters, Biden led Buttigieg 39 percent to 22 percent; and among those whose number one issue is defeating Donald Trump, Biden led Buttigieg 33 percent to 21 percent.

Among voters ages 18-35, Sanders led Buttigieg 33 percent to 18 percent. Among those who identified as liberal or very liberal, Sanders led Warren 28 percent to 22 percent. Among those who said health care was the most important issue, Sanders led Biden 27 percent to 22 percent.

The impeachment trial

Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of caucus-goers said they watched the impeachment trial, while 34 percent said they hadn’t watched any of it. Nearly 77 percent predicted that the Senate would not convict President Trump, though 71 percent said the impeachment trial is important even if Trump is acquitted.

Impeachment’s campaign impact

The four senators who cannot campaign in Iowa while they are serving as jurors in the impeachment trial can breathe easy, as Iowans understand their situation. When asked about how the absence of Michael Bennet, Warren, Sanders, and Klobuchar affect their vote, over 88 percent said it would have no effect, while 5 percent said they expected candidates to be in Iowa to earn their vote.


The survey of 500 likely Iowa Democratic caucus-goers was conducted Jan. 23 through Jan. 26 using live telephone interviews of households where respondents indicated they intended to participate in the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses. The margin of error is +/-4.4 percentage points at a 95 percent level of confidence. Results are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310,

 [NK1]Did you see any changes after the endorsement?