Sanders grabs lead in Iowa race as support for Warren drops: NYT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Sen. Bernie Sanders is leading other Democratic presidential candidates with 25 percent of the likely vote in Iowa, just over a week before statewide caucuses in the state, a New York Times/Siena College poll released Saturday showed.

Sanders has gained six points since the last Times/Siena poll in October, while support for Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and former Vice President Joe Biden has remained steady at 18 percent and 17 percent, respectively, it showed. He is also leading some other opinion polls in the state.

Sanders’ gains come at the expense of his fellow progressive, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, whose support dropped to 15 percent from 22 percent in the October poll, the New York Times reported.

Iowa voters cast ballots in Feb. 3 party caucuses in the first contest in the state-by-state process of selecting a Democratic challenger to Republican President Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 general election. Thirteen Democrats are in the race.

Sanders’s gains came after a weeks-long controversy over whether he told Warren in a 2018 meeting that a woman could not beat Trump, a charge he has denied.

The Vermont senator last week scrapped three scheduled Iowa campaign appearances to remain in Washington for Trump’s impeachment trial, along with three other Democratic senators running for president.

Trump, a Republican, is charged by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives with abusing the powers of his office when he asked Ukraine to investigate Biden, and obstructing a congressional inquiry into his conduct.

The Times/Siena survey of 1,689 registered voters in Iowa was conducted from Jan. 20 to Jan. 23, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.8 percentage points.

Iowa endorsement

In other news, the Des Moines Register newspaper endorsed Senator Warren in the crowded race for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination late on Saturday, a coveted show of support that could boost her campaign in the state’s first-in-the-nation caucus on Feb. 3.

Iowa’s caucuses are the first nominating contests in presidential election cycles, giving the largely rural, Midwestern state an outsized role in choosing standard-bearers from each party.

“I just heard about it and I’m delighted,” Warren told supporters after an event in Muscatine, Iowa. “It really means a lot to me.”

Warren, the Register’s choice, is a progressive who backs a single-payer healthcare system and reforms throughout the nation’s economic, political and criminal justice systems.

In its endorsement, the newspaper said Warren would “push an unequal America in the right direction.”

But the Register’s editorial board went on to insist that Warren, viewed by some as too far left, is no radical.

“The senior U.S. senator from Massachusetts is not the radical some perceive her to be,” the newspaper said. “She was a registered Republican until 1996. She is a capitalist.”

The Register’s endorsement was the second high profile nod from a major newspaper this week. The New York Times endorsed her this week along with Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, offering Warren for progressives and Klobuchar for those who prefer a more moderate approach.

In Muscatine, where Klobuchar was set to speak at a campaign event soon after an appearance by Warren, Dick Paul, 68, said he is leaning toward supporting Klobuchar because she has deep experience in government and “lots of good common sense.”

“I don’t pay much attention to endorsements,” Paul said. “I don’t think it will make a difference.”

About 45 minutes after the announcement, Warren’s campaign sent an email to supporters, sharing the news and asking for donations to help push turnout on caucus night.

“As exciting as these endorsements are, they won’t mean anything if we don’t do the work on the ground to turn out our supporters on February 3,” the email said.

Top finishers in Iowa’s nominating contests frequently go on to lead their parties in the final election match-up.

Later on Saturday, another Iowa newspaper, the smaller Sioux City Journal, endorsed Biden, saying he is “best positioned to give Americans a competitive head-to-head matchup with President Trump.”

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