Poll: Biden leads pack in Iowa, Booker lags way behind

By Emily Bader
Iowa | Apr 11, 2019 at 1:16 pm

Democratic voters in Iowa are big fans of Joe Biden … not so much Cory Booker.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker is skimming close to the bottom when it comes to favorability among current presidential contenders, according to the first Monmouth University Poll of Iowa Democratic voters for the 2020 race.

Of the 24 announced and potential candidates, Biden is in the lead with 27% support among Dems who are likely to attend the Iowa caucus in February.

He is followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (16%), South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (9&) Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (7%) California Sen. Kamala Harris (7%), former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke (6%), Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (4%), Booker (3%) and former cabinet secretary Julián Castro (2%).

The remaining 15 candidates each receive 1% or less of support.

“If Biden does get into this race, he’ll start out as a clear front-runner in Iowa. Not only does he garner support from crucial demographic groups but he is almost universally well-liked among all Democratic voters,” Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said.

In Iowa, the poll found Biden’s favorability rate is a strong 78% with an unfavorability rate of 14% among likely Democratic caucusgoers. Sanders also comes in hot with a favorability rating of 67%, but his unfavorable rating of 26% is higher than any other contender. Warren has a positive net rating at 67% favorable to 20% unfavorable.

Other well-known candidates include: Harris (61% favorable, 13% unfavorable), O’Rourke (60% to 13%) and Booker (54% to 16%).

The big issues Iowa Democrats are thinking about when selecting a presidential candidate include health care (51%), environmental concerns (17% climate change, 12% environment in general), immigration (14%), education (14%), jobs (13%), beating President Donald Trump (10%), civil rights (8%), taxes (7%), Social Security (7%), personal integrity (5%), national security (4%) and a number of other issues (3% or less).

“Here’s one example of why this race is very open despite the possibility of having a nominal front-runner if Biden gets in. Health care and the environment are clearly the top issues in this race, but it doesn’t look like any candidate owns a clear advantage on them. And there are a bunch of other issues that candidates may be able to leverage into voter support over the next few months,” Murray said.

The poll contacted 351 Iowa voters from April 4 to 9 who are likely to attend the Democratic presidential caucus in February 2020. It has a margin of error of +/- 5.2 percentage points.

Emily Bader | ebader@roi-nj.com | emilybader