It's no fluke: Pete Buttigieg really is rising in the polls

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, has unexpectedly broken out of obscurity as he pursues an unlikely path for the 2020 Democratic nomination. One strong sign that he's becoming a real player in the primary is that, after a wave of positive press and media praise, he's facing a backlash of criticism — a strong sign that he's hit a nerve.

And new polling released Thursday suggests that the Buttigieg moment isn't merely a construction of the media — he's gaining real traction with voters. In surveys of both Iowa and New Hampshire, two critical primary states, Buttigieg has moved from an unknown to third in the pack behind Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

CNN reported:

Monmouth University poll of likely Democratic caucusgoers in Iowa, out Thursday, finds Biden at the top of the pack with 27% support, Sanders at 16%, Buttigieg at 9%, Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren at 7%, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke at 6%, Sen. Amy Klobuchar at 4%, Sen. Cory Booker at 3%, and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro at 2%. The rest of the field stood at 1% or less in the poll, with a sizable 12% saying they are undecided among the 24 candidates tested in the poll.

In New Hampshire, site of the nation's first primary elections, a St. Anselm College pollalso out Tuesday shows a similar lineup: Biden at 23%, Sanders at 16%, Buttigieg at 11%, Warren at 9%, Harris at 7%, O'Rourke at 6%, Booker at 4% and Klobuchar at 2%. The rest of the tested field landed at 1% or less. Nearly 1 in 5 said they were undecided or backing someone not named in the list of 14 candidates presented to those who took the poll.

For Buttigieg, a local official largely unknown to the country until recently, to be trailing the former vice president and the second-finisher in the 2016 primary in two key states is quite a feat. And he's running ahead of nationally known names like Warren, O'Rourke, and Harris. (Though CNN noted that there is a significant margin of error for these polls, so they should be treated with due skepticism.)

"The Mayor Pete surge is very real," said CNN analyst Harry Enten. "Polls in the last 24 from Iowa and NH have him in third."


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