Pete Buttigieg Gains Momentum, Surging to Third in Iowa Poll

The gay presidential candidate, who is having a moment, was only bested by Biden and Sanders in the new poll.

South Bend, Indiana Mayor and presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has surged to third place in an Iowa caucus poll released Sunday.

Buttigieg, who would become the first openly gay president if he wins the primary and the general election in 2020, came in ahead of every other Democratic candidate besides Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

A total of 11% of likely Democratic Iowa caucusgoers surveyed by Emerson Polling said they supported Buttigieg to become the party's nominee and face off against Trump. Biden, who has yet to officially announce he will run, finished first with 25%, followed closely by Sanders, who netted 24%.

Joshua Lott for The Washington Post via Getty Images

DES MOINES, IA - DECEMBER 20: South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during the 6th Annual Progress Iowa Holiday Party on Thursday, December 20, 2018 in Des Moines, Iowa. Buttigieg, a two term mayor who was elected at the age of 29, announced December 17, during a news conference that he would not seek a third term for mayor of South Bend. In the coming weeks, Buttigieg says he will make a decision if he will consider a run for president in 2020. Photo by Joshua Lott for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Kamala Harris came in fourth, with 10%, followed by Elizabeth Warren in fifth, with 9%.

In Emerson's January Iowa poll, Buttigieg was polling at 0%. Spencer Kimball, Director of the Emerson Poll, called the candidate's newfound popularity "the biggest surprise" this time around.

He continued, noting that "last week we saw him inching up in our national poll, and now he’s in double digits in Iowa, America is going to be asking who is ‘Mayor Pete?'"

Buttigieg is receiving strong support from voters 18-29, trailing only Sanders in that category.

"If Buttigieg is able to maintain his momentum, his candidacy appears to be pulling from the same demographic of young voters as Sanders, and that could become a problem for Sanders," said Kimball.

Earlier this month, the candidate celebrated hitting the 65,000 donor mark needed to secure a spot on the first debate stage.

When asked during an appearance on The View if America is ready for a gay president, he said "there's only one way to find out," and noted he got re-elected in Indiana by over 80% of the vote after coming out.

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