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WATCH: Pete Buttigieg surges to first place in ‘gold standard’ poll of Iowa caucuses

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Democratic presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg/ABC screen shot

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg surged in a poll of Iowa released Saturday night.

The poll, by Des Moines Register, CNN and Mediacom, showed major movement in the race.

“Since September, Buttigieg has risen 16 percentage points among Iowa’s likely Democratic caucusgoers, with 25% now saying he is their first choice for president. For the first time in the Register’s Iowa Poll, he bests rivals Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who are now clustered in competition for second place and about 10 percentage points behind the South Bend, Indiana, mayor,” the newspaper reported.

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The poll is often called the “gold standard” of caucus surveys.

“Warren, a U.S. senator from Massachusetts, led the September Iowa Poll, when 22% said she was their first choice. In this poll, her support slips to 16%. Former Vice President Biden, who led the Register’s first three Iowa Polls of the 2020 caucus cycle, has continued to slide, falling 5 percentage points to 15%. Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, also garners 15% — a 4 percentage point rise,” the newspaper reported.

Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa poll of the Iowa Caucuses (screengrab)

The poll was conducted by J. Ann Selzer.

“This is the first poll that shows Buttigieg as a stand-alone front-runner,” Seltzer said. “There have been four candidates that have sort of jostled around in a pack together, but he has a sizable lead over the nearest contender — 9 points. So this is a new status for him.”

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Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa poll of the Iowa Caucuses (screengrab)

Seltzer & Co. surveyed 500 likely Democratic caucusgoers between November eighth and thirteenth. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

Buttigieg told CNN he thought the results were “extremely encouraging.”

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