Bernie Sanders Leads Popular Vote in Iowa, but Pete Buttigieg Leads in Delegates

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Win McNamee/Getty Images

The belated and incomplete results of the Iowa caucuses show Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) leading former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg in the popular vote — but losing in delegates thus far.

With 62% of the precincts reporting, the delayed count supplied Tuesday afternoon by the Iowa Democratic Party showed that Sanders had won 26.3% of the total vote, ahead of 25.1% for Buttigieg.

But Buttigieg had the lead in delegates to the state convention, with 363 “state delegate equivalents” to 338 for Sanders. The discrepancy is likely accounted for by the fact that the caucuses allow voters whose first preference did not reach the 15% threshold to vote again for their second preference candidate.

That means that Buttigieg was likely a more popular second choice for voters whose first choice proved “non-viable.”

Anecdotally, that scenario was borne out in a caucus observed by Breitbart News, where Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) came first and Sanders came second, but Buttigieg won the largest number of new votes in the “second alignment” after former Vice President Joe Biden failed to qualify.

Last year, Buttigieg called for the Electoral College to be abolished, in response to President Donald Trump winning in 2016 despite losing the popular vote to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The fact that Sanders is winning in total votes but losing in delegates has fueled online irritation among Sanders supporters who are already suspicious about the “Shadow” app that allegedly caused the caucus vote totals to be delayed. Buttigieg has reportedly paid Shadow in the past for campaign software.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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