Very early Iowa Democratic primary poll finds Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders leading the field

At this time in 2014, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was leading comfortably among Republicans
Joe Biden
Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to the media in Cincinnati on June 29, 2018.John Minchillo / AP file

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By Allan Smith

Former Vice President Joe Biden and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont led the massive field of 2020 Democratic primary contenders in a very early Iowa poll released this weekend.

A Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom poll, released Saturday, showed Biden garnering 32 percent support from likely Democratic caucusgoers in the first-in-the-nation presidential caucus state, while Sanders picked up support from 19 percent of respondents.

Following Biden and Sanders was Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas, who narrowly lost a Senate bid last month against GOP Sen. Ted Cruz and has since seen his stock rise among Democrats. O'Rourke came in with 11 percent support. No other candidate received more than 10 percent in the Iowa poll. Of the remaining candidates polled, only Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kamala Harris of California received 5 or more percent support among respondents.

Of note, nearly half of respondents — 49 percent — preferred a "seasoned political hand" when compared to a "newcomer" when asked who they thought would be the right person to defeat President Donald Trump.

The Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom surveyed 455 likely Democratic caucusgoers. The poll, conducted from Dec. 10 through 13, had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.6 percentage points.

Polls at this stage of the presidential cycle should be taken with a grain of salt, it should be noted. At this time in 2014, 14 months out from the Iowa contest, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush led a crowded GOP primary field in a CNN/ORC poll, garnering support from 23 percent of Republican primary voters. In second place was then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with 13 percent of respondents selecting him as their preferred choice.

President Donald Trump was not even included in the survey.