So if there’s one reason not to write Warren off, it’s that she was the top second-choice pick in both the Monmouth (19 percent) and Iowa State/Civiqs (16 percent) polls. In other words, if she can remain viable at most caucus sites, she could still benefit when some voters have to realign. At the same time, though, Monmouth found that if the field was limited only to the top-four candidates, Biden would lead with 29 percent, followed by Sanders at 25 percent, Buttigieg at 20 percent, Warren at 19 percent, so it’s unclear just how much room Warren has to gain as a popular second-choice pick.
One other thing to keep in mind that is going on under the hood with these polls is that pollsters are trying to gauge who is actually going to show up and caucus, a process that’s much, much more involved than simply casting a ballot like in a primary. University of Delaware political scientist David Redlawsk recently pointed out that some Iowa polls have small but meaningful differences in the age makeup of their likely caucus-goers, which may play some role in who’s doing better in a given poll. For example, the Iowa State/Civiqs poll found Sanders leading among 18-to-34 year olds with 33 percent while Biden got just 1 percent! But that survey estimated that 47 percent of likely caucus-goers will be under 50 years old, a boon for Sanders’s topline number, whereas the 2016 entrance poll found that just 42 percent of caucus-goers were under the age of 50. Of course, it’s difficult to say who is right when it comes to trying to figure out who is going to show up on Monday — will more young people caucus in 2020 than in 2016? The answer is we won’t really know until caucus night, but it’s just another thing to consider when looking at the topline numbers in these polls.