Warren pulling ahead, at least in Iowa

We’ve seen some rather crazy swings in the recent Iowa polling lately, to the point where it was hard to tell which direction the first caucus state was heading. In a relatively short period of time, one poll had Elizabeth Warren up by eight. Another had Joe Biden leading the pack with 29. In that same period, Bernie Sanders has been as high as 26 and as low as 9.

Most analysts have been urging caution and preaching the same message. Wait for the Des Moines Register’s poll. It’s historically been the most accurate and the one all the politicos make bank on. Well, last night the waiting ended, at least for this news cycle. And they’ve got Warren on top, but only by a sliver over Joe Biden. Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, is almost back in single digits. (NBC News)

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has overtaken former Vice President Joe Biden in Iowa, according to a new Des Moines Register/CNN poll of the crucial state.

The poll out Saturday night found Warren was the top choice for the Democratic nomination with 22 percent support among likely caucus-goers, while Biden had the support of 20 percent of respondents. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders fell to third with 11 percent.

The poll was conducted of 602 likely Democratic caucus-goers from Sept. 14-18. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

This is a significant shift for the Register’s results from their survey taken in June. Back then, Biden was well ahead, with a nearly double-digit lead over both Biden and Sanders. Of course, the collapse of Kamala Harris could have a lot to do with this. A sizable portion of her support appears to have migrated to Warren.

That factor should serve as a reminder that we’re still a long way from fully consolidating the Democratic vote in Iowa, and around the country for that matter. In Iowa, Harris, along with Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker still account for a combined 21% of the total. And there’s an additional 24 percent scattered among the rest of the massive field. When larger numbers of them begin following Bill de Blasio out the door, they’ll all have to go somewhere.

In other words, Biden and Warren may be leading with around 20%, but that’s not going to tell us a thing until the rest of the Democratic chickens come home to roost. I’m sure it’s possible they might all wind up with the two current frontrunners, but it’s just as conceivable that they will fall in a lopsided pile for a clear leader.

From the beginning of this mess, I’d never imagined that Donald Trump could be lucky enough to draw Warren as an opponent, but at this point, it’s impossible to deny that she looks like she has a real chance. That’s kind of amazing because she really is a dud of a candidate. She’s terrible on the stump and leaves people with the impression that she’s lecturing them more than relating to them. And she’s already gone on the record with a bunch of policies that will ruin people’s financial situations while driving the country in an extreme leftward tilt.

If Trump is running even a modestly competent campaign next year he should be able to tear her to shreds. But I’m not getting my hopes up yet. Joe Biden is still very strong in a lot of other states and he remains the most likely winner in my opinion.