Pete Buttigieg Ahead of Beto O’Rourke & Kamala Harris in Pennsylvania Poll

Pete Buttigieg

Getty Pete Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana and the youngest candidate in the race for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, is beginning to gain some traction. A new poll released March 28 by Emerson College shows Buttigieg garnered support from 6 percent of registered voters in Pennsylvania.

The poll, which was conducted March 26 through the 28, surveyed about 800 registered voters in Pennsylvania using landline telephones and an online panel. The margin of error was listed as +/- 5.1 percent.

emerson college democratic primary poll

Emerson College Poll of registered voters in Pennsylvania.

Voters were asked who their top choice would be for the Democratic nomination. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who has yet to enter the race, topped the list with support from 39 percent of those surveyed. Senator Bernie Sanders came in second with 20 percent. Biden and Sanders have consistently been at the top of the polls early on. Senator Elizabeth Warren had 11 percent of the vote.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s support from 6 percent of registered voters in Pennsylvania marks a significant shift. Buttigieg had little nationwide name recognition nationwide when he first launched his campaign in January and barely registered at all in early polls.

The Director of the Emerson Poll, Spencer Kimball, noted that Buttigieg’s support has continued to grow in recent weeks. “Mayor Pete has performed well for our third poll in a row, indicating an increase in support for the South Bend Mayor, though Pennsylvania looks like it could be a Joe Biden firewall.”

The Emerson College poll shows Buttigieg ahead of Senator Kamala Harris and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, both of whom received 5 percent of the vote. It’s important to note that the margin of error of the poll means that the actual numbers may not mean much of anything in terms of the horse race. Statistically, the poll shows a tie between Buttigieg, O’Rourke, and Harris. Senator Cory Booker, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Kirsten Gillibrand can also be included in the statistical tie due to the margin of error.


Buttigieg Performed As Well as Senator Warren in a National Quinnipiac University Poll

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The Emerson College poll does follow a recent trend for Buttigieg and could be an indicator of higher numbers to come. A national Quinnipiac University poll also released on March 28 shows Buttigieg with 4 percent of the vote among Democrats nationwide. In that poll, Biden received support from 29 percent of those surveyed, again with Sanders trailing in second place with 19 percent. O’Rourke garnered 12 percent from the national poll and Harris had 8 percent. The entire poll is embedded above or you can read it here.

Buttigieg’s showing of 4 percent put him on an even playing field with Warren, who also received support from 4 percent of voters according to the Quinnipiac. He again performed better than Booker, Gillibrand, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper.


Pete Buttigieg Has Shown Steady Increases in Support Since Mid-March of 2019

2020 candidate asked if Pence would be better than TrumpDemocratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg talks about Vice President Mike Pence's views on homosexuality and says Pence would be both a better and worse president than Donald Trump. #CNN #News2019-03-11T19:51:25.000Z

Pete Buttigieg has taken full advantage of the recent momentum and appeared on multiple news outlets to promote his message. The language used across the media spectrum has been that Buttigieg is “having a moment.” The “moment” started following his appearance on a CNN Town Hall on March 10, 2019. Buttigieg’s comments concerning his marriage, faith, and Vice President Mike Pence went viral and sparked interest in the millennial candidate. You can hear Buttigieg answer a question about Pence, sexuality and religion in the video embedded above.

According to Real Clear Politics, which keeps track of all polls conducted nationwide, Buttigieg’s rise has been steady in the past few weeks. An average of polls shows that before March 10, Buttigieg barely registered in voters’ minds. He didn’t even crack 1 percent of support in polls.

A CNN poll released a week after the Town Hall showed Buttigieg with 1 percent support. Then a national Emerson poll had him with 3 percent. Recent Fox News and Morning Consult polls showed Buttigieg with 1 and 2 percent support respectively.

FiveThirtyEight Politics, known for statistical analysis of elections, noted that Buttigieg’s name recognition has gone up and more people are researching him on Google. But it may be too early to tell if that interest will result in primary votes.