Is Pete Buttigieg peaking too soon?

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg joined the leaders of the Democratic race for president in Iowa, up 14 percentage points since August, according to a new Monmouth University poll of likely caucusgoers.

Posted: Nov 12, 2019 8:50 PM
Updated: Nov 12, 2019 8:50 PM

The last 48 hours may well be the best 48 hours of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg's 2020 presidential campaign.

First came a Quinnipiac University poll of New Hampshire voters on Monday that showed Buttigieg at 15% support -- clumped with the rest of the front-running pack, including former Vice President Joe Biden (20%), Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (16%) and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont (14%). (Buttigieg began running ads in the Granite State on Tuesday.)

Then on Tuesday, Buttigieg got even better news: In a Monmouth University Iowa poll, he stood at the top, with 22%, followed by Biden (19%), Warren (18%) and Sanders (13%). Because their support falls within the margin of error of +/- 4.6 percentage points, there is no clear leader in the Iowa poll, with Buttigieg, Warren and Biden making up the top tier. Even more impressive for Mayor Pete is that he gained 14 points between an August Iowa Monmouth poll and this survey while Biden lost 7 points and Warren 2. (Sanders gained 5 from that August poll to now.)

Taken together, there now exists the possibility that the 37-year-old wonderboy could win the first two voting states, a sweep that, if it came to pass, would put him in the driver's seat for the Democratic nomination.

What could possibly rain on the Pete parade? Try this -- in tweet form from former Obama senior strategist Dan Pfeiffer:

"This is almost twelve years to the week that Obama made his move in Iowa, the only challenge for Buttigieg is that the Caucus is one month later this cycle so it's a bigger challenge to sustain the momentum," Pfeiffer tweeted about the Monmouth results.

Which is true! In 2008, due to attempts by other states to lessen the influence of Iowa and New Hampshire, the Iowa caucuses were held on January 3. In 2020, they are scheduled for February 3.

Which means that Buttigieg needs to sustain his momentum in Iowa -- which he quite clearly has -- for the next (gulp!) 83 days. Not impossible, but a heck of a lot harder than keeping momentum for, say, 30 days.

For some perspective, 83 days ago was August 21, 2019. On that day, President Donald Trump canceled his planned trip to Denmark after the country's leaders made clear they had no interest in selling Greenland to the United States. And on that same day, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee dropped out of the presidential race.

Feels like a loooooong time ago, right? And it speaks to Buttigieg's challenge over the next 83 days.

The Point: Any of the candidates -- with the possible exception of Warren -- would change places with Buttigieg as of today. But that doesn't mean his work in the race is done.

UPDATE: This story has been updated to add the margin of error on the Monmouth University Iowa poll.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 608519

Reported Deaths: 9693
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion840461335
Lake45349684
Allen32803548
Hamilton29394315
St. Joseph27380381
Elkhart24404345
Vanderburgh19411249
Tippecanoe17970138
Johnson15069295
Porter14783169
Hendricks14401248
Madison10965221
Vigo10726181
Clark10677144
Monroe9383110
Delaware9116134
LaPorte9065163
Howard8236144
Kosciusko806983
Warrick672999
Hancock6697104
Bartholomew6484100
Floyd6428110
Wayne6136162
Grant5991115
Dubois555579
Boone551168
Morgan541295
Henry507864
Marshall503984
Cass483263
Dearborn479845
Noble473059
Jackson425047
Shelby417581
Lawrence391079
Clinton373043
Gibson370359
Harrison348144
DeKalb347164
Montgomery345754
Knox335639
Miami321444
Steuben313745
Whitley307326
Wabash303251
Adams300936
Ripley298445
Putnam296850
Huntington291659
Jasper289034
White273243
Daviess270474
Jefferson263338
Decatur247683
Fayette247148
Greene239862
Posey239328
Wells236051
LaGrange228862
Scott225339
Clay222532
Randolph213548
Jennings198936
Sullivan192333
Spencer191321
Washington186423
Fountain184027
Starke175443
Jay167623
Owen165737
Fulton164030
Orange159534
Carroll158015
Rush155118
Perry154229
Vermillion149134
Franklin148333
Tipton132332
Parke13078
Pike116926
Blackford111022
Pulaski97037
Newton90921
Brown88035
Benton86610
Crawford7999
Martin73713
Warren6817
Switzerland6615
Union6287
Ohio4907
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 859841

Reported Deaths: 10680
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin101171707
Cuyahoga855711125
Hamilton64017448
Montgomery43107418
Summit34836761
Lucas31350625
Butler30973232
Stark25786435
Warren19671140
Lorain19017223
Mahoning17321338
Lake16080154
Clermont15926111
Delaware1438878
Licking13204137
Trumbull12809316
Fairfield1279381
Greene12055137
Medina11591168
Clark10942265
Wood10348158
Allen9897126
Portage9296109
Miami916873
Richland9139118
Marion7459113
Tuscarawas7381182
Columbiana7327124
Pickaway726150
Wayne7034171
Muskingum703141
Erie6152129
Hancock552390
Ross548998
Scioto539164
Geauga508455
Darke470292
Ashtabula453073
Lawrence452654
Union451828
Sandusky436662
Mercer433589
Seneca430166
Huron428741
Auglaize422264
Shelby421222
Jefferson419269
Belmont416840
Washington388740
Athens38009
Putnam374975
Madison355129
Knox352622
Ashland344938
Fulton338443
Defiance330086
Crawford322374
Preble320637
Brown312921
Logan307332
Ottawa293943
Clinton290143
Williams278667
Highland275118
Jackson263845
Guernsey254125
Champaign252028
Fayette236530
Morrow23234
Perry231318
Holmes225474
Henry218749
Hardin213033
Coshocton205622
Van Wert202245
Gallia196726
Wyandot196051
Pike176217
Adams176115
Hocking172024
Carroll155616
Paulding144321
Noble120540
Meigs108624
Monroe100732
Harrison89121
Morgan83130
Vinton70213
Unassigned00
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