At first, I suspected that the “Buttigieg bump” was overblown — that the media was getting more interested in him, but actual voters mostly were not. But there’s actually good reason to believe that the interest in Buttigieg is pretty organic. He appears to have generated a lot of Google search interest relative to his media coverage and has attracted plenty of small donors. Buttigieg’s campaign said that in the 24 hours after his well-received performance in a CNN town hall on March 10, he raised about $600,000. A few days later, Buttigieg announced he had received donations from at least 65,000 people, which is one of the qualifications for getting invited to the first two Democratic primary debates. And his campaign said in an email to supporters on Monday that it had raised half a million dollars in each of two separate 24-hour periods last week.
The splashiest data point in support of the Buttigieg bump is an Emerson College poll conducted March 21-24 that gave him 11 percent of the vote in Iowa, putting him in third place there. This marks a sizable gain for “Mayor Pete,” as he had gotten 0 percent support in the pollster’s January survey.