Iowa Caucus Now a 3-Way Tie, Steyer's Surprise Surge in SC, NV


We now have a clear picture of what's happening in Iowa. It's a now three-way tie.

Poll Averaging

The title of my post may appear a bit silly, but it's not. Rather, it's a blast at those who average polls that are months old to project who is in the lead.

This is what things looked like on January 4.

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On the basis of polls dating back to November 6, Real Clear Politics said Pete Buttigieg was in the lead.

Those polls were so freaking old they conveyed zero information.

We now have one poll reasonable enough to discuss. Instead of having no information we can now see that Iowa is rough a three-way tie between Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and Pete Buttigieg.

What Happened to Michael Bloomberg?

RCP listed Bloomberg on January 4, but doesn't now.


He dropped out of the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire Primary.

New Hampshire Picture

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For New Hampshire, RCP is still averaging in two polls from November and very early December. Last week it was even sillier.

But at least we do have two new polls worth looking at. Unfortunately, there is a massive variance in them.

Massive Variance

If Monmouth is accurate, Buttigieg has a one-point lead over Joe Biden with Bernie Sanders in third place also by a point.

If YouGov is correct Sanders has a two-point lead over Biden and a whopping 14-point lead over Buttigieg.

Even though the percentages vary widely, Biden happens to be in second place in both of the newest polls. Elizabeth Warren is in third or fourth place depending on which poll you believe.

My Assessment

  1. Sanders
  2. Biden
  3. Flip a Coin between Warren and Buttigieg

If that New Hampshire projection is correct, then Buttigieg desperately needs a first or second place finish in Iowa.

Winning an early primary may not boost Buttigieg, but losing both badly would likely do him in financially.

What About Bloomberg?

Bloomberg is worth $57 billion or so. He can self-finance a presidential campaign for as long as he desires.

If Bloomberg can get to double-digit support, or perhaps even 8%, there will be pressure to include Bloomberg in the debates.


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There is only one poll in Nevada worth discussing. It's from this year.

Biden has a 6 point lead over Sanders. Tom Steyer is doing better than many might have expected. At 12% he matches Warren.

RCP averaged in a poll from October. Ridiculous.

South Carolina

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There is only one poll worth discussing in South Carolina. The rest are too stale.

Biden is +21 in SC over Steyer, +22 over Sanders in SC.

Steyer has been advertising heavily in SC. It helps to be a billionaire.

How Serious Is Tom Steyer’s Polling Surge?

Please consider How Serious Is Tom Steyer’s Polling Surge?

There hasn’t been much public polling in the Democratic primary race, and it hasn’t offered too many surprises even on the few occasions when it has materialized. Until Thursday night.

In what might be the most surprising results of the cycle, Fox News released polls in South Carolina and Nevada showing Tom Steyer in a strong position: second place with 15 percent of the vote in the South Carolina primary, and tied for third with 12 percent of the vote in Nevada.

It’s enough to qualify him for next week’s Democratic debate, and it at least raises the question of whether he’s poised to play a more meaningful role in the race.

Fox News polls are of high quality, and the sample is large enough that the result can’t be dismissed as noise. The findings are not wholly without corroboration. Morning Consult’s early state tracking shows Mr. Steyer at 10 percent combined across the four early states.

The explanation for his surge is straightforward: uncontested dominance of the airwaves. According to FiveThirtyEight’s ad spending tracker, he has spent more on television advertisements than all other candidates combined if you don’t count the other billionaire in the race, Michael Bloomberg.

National Polls

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We have two recent national polls, with perhaps two more worth averaging in.

Consistency and Fluctuations

Regardless of time frame, we have two candidates with very consistent numbers (Biden and Buttigieg).

We also have two huge fluctuations (Warren and Sanders).

Making Sense of It All

Consistency vs fluctuations makes sense actually.

Warren and Sanders are in direct competition for the progressives whereas neither Buttigieg nor Bloomberg are taking votes away from Biden. Bloomberg might matter, but realistically, Buttigieg is a heavy favorite to become burnt toast. In 8 more years he might have a better shot.

Scepticism Needed

I am very sceptical of that latest YouGov poll. None of the top 5 polls have Warren polling that high.

Moreover, I suspect the Mideast situation is far more likely to cause a surge for Sanders than Warren.

And Sanders has a huge lead in fundraising.

Finally, the Steyer impact does not yet show up nationally due to his selective state strategy and lack of name recognition.

Steyer Who?

Anyway, we have numbers and a new development with Steyer worth discussing. Place your bets.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (16)
No. 1-11


And then there is AOC: she has been getting more donations than any other House dems, and she refuses to pay her DCCC dues. She has however sent at least $30,000 of it to The Bern; also donated to primary rivals of incumbent dems. Establishment democrats are NOT HAPPY with AOC!


Hardly matters, The hit on that Iranian general all but seals Trump's fate,Don Vito has 2 choices, not seek reelection,or end up swimming with the fishes.Chinese,Europeans,Russians,Japs have decided he has to go,even they can't condone cold blooded pre meditated murder by a nation state!


The Des Moines Register poll just came out. It shows Sanders leading and Biden in 4th place in Iowa.


Both parties are lost at sea. Had Bloomberg or someone else run as an independent and started earlier to get on the ballot in all 50 states (a la Perot) then they would have likely won the 2020 election. We will get stuck with the worst of both worlds. Probably a final choice between Trump and Sanders or Biden.


I have seen several Steyer ads here in eastern TN. He is highlighting term limits, and I suspect that might be part of his appeal outside Iowa/NH.


Nothing has changed since the beginning of last year -- there is not a Clinton or Obama anywhere to be found. None of them have captured the country's attention (I remember on TV in 1991/1992 when Clinton was on the stage on daytime TV with four others -- Gephardt etc -- and you could just tell he was head and shoulders above the rest, and Obama of course was a cry for help in 2008). What we have is the same thing we had 6 months ago: a presidential race full of vice-presidential candidates.


OMG its Mish! Those who know the least about the weather overestimate their weather knowledge the most.


This could be a referendum against Princess Pocahontas. She has been trending lower for over a month.


Nice to see Steyer trending up. This will encourage him to piss away even more of his fortune on grating advertisements. He made his money in coal and now he's a climate change groupie. Justice would be this guy on the rocks, dead broke and destitute. I'm actively cheering him on.


If Bloomberg wins we would have the salt shaker police coming to your house. Let alone no longer having big gulps. No more soda on the store shelves. Sending in the gun control police to seize all your firearms so you cannot stop the salt police.

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