Mayor Pete Buttigieg is gaining some political momentum in Iowa after the fourth Democrat debate, according to polls.
An Iowa State University poll released Thursday showed Buttigieg surging into second place, behind Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Buttigieg now has 20 percent support, up seven points from last month and Warren has 28 percent, up four points.
The Iowa State University poll featured 598 likely Democratic Caucus attendees in Iowa from October 18-22 and was conducted online.
A Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll of Iowa Democrats released Monday showed Buttigieg up seven points from an earlier primary survey released in June. The new poll showed Buttigeg was in third place with 13 percent while Biden had 18 percent and Warren had 17 percent. The Suffolk poll featured 500 likely Democratic caucusgoers.
An Emerson poll released last week showed the South Bend mayor at 16 percent, below Warren and Biden with 23 percent each. The Emerson poll featured 317 Democrat caucus voters.
Buttigieg made a conscious effort to paint himself in the fourth presidential debate on CNN as a safer alternative to radical Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and emphasized his willingness to “heal” the nation after defeating President Donald Trump in 2020.
That marked a quiet change from his earlier attempts to gain attention from the left by campaigning as a quiet radical ready to remake the Supreme Court, a proposal that even Ruth Bader-Ginsburg opposed.
Buttigeig also continues to enjoy friendly press coverage from the establishment media, as many pundits and analysts are eager for a safe alternative to Biden and the more leftist candidates.
Seventy-six percent of Democrats described Buttigieg as honest in the ISU poll while only 63 percent said the same about Joe Biden.
The South Bend Mayor also has former Rep. Beto O’Rourke to thank for pushing policies widely out of step with Iowa voters, including mandatory gun confiscation and getting rid of tax-exempt status for churches not willing to embrace gay marriage. Buttigieg pushed back against both proposals, which he argued were politically difficult to achieve.
“[T]he idea that you’re going to strip churches of their tax-exempt status if they haven’t found their way towards blessing same-sex marriage, I’m not sure he understood the implications of what he was saying,” Buttigieg said in response to O’Rourke’s proposal.
O’Rourke is also among the few Democrat rivals that targeted Buttigieg directly for not being radical enough on gun control. But Buttigieg successfully fought back in the fourth debate, telling the former Texas Congressman, “I don’t need lessons from you on courage, political or personal.”
O’Rourke is now in 11th place in the Iowa State University poll with only one percent support.