South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has surged to the front of the pack in the third Monmouth University Poll of the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses.

The poll shows a clear division amongst caucusgoers, with respondents nearly evenly split between candidates.

Buttigieg leads with 22%, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden with 19% and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren with 18%. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders trails behind in fourth place, with 13% favoring his candidacy.

Although the numbers are close, Buttigieg’s rise has occurred rapidly. In August, the same poll found Buttigieg to have only 8% of support. Biden, on the other hand, has dropped 7% since August.

He has a politically diverse base of supporters, receiving 15% of support from very liberal caucus goers, 26% of the moderate/conservative votes, and 23% of those identified as “somewhat liberal.”

“Buttigieg is emerging as a top pick for a wide variety of Iowa Democrats. While he has made nominally bigger gains among older caucus goers, you really can’t pigeonhole his support to one particular group. He is doing well with voters regardless of education or ideology,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Buttigieg was also seen as the most favorable candidate. According to an average of the polls, 73% of respondents said their general impression of Buttigieg was favorable, while only 10% said it was unfavorable. The rest of the respondents either had no opinion or had not heard of him.

Warren followed closely with 69% saying their impression was favorable, but had a higher rate of unfavorable opinions — at 23%. Biden’s results were similar to Warren’s, with 65% favorability and 26% disapproval.

The poll also found that the support could easily shift, as only 28% of respondents are firmly decided on a certain candidate.

The poll was conducted Nov. 7-11 and surveyed 451 likely Democratic caucusgoers. Its margin of sampling error is +/- 4.6 %.

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