Capitol Report: Buttigieg ranks 3rd in Iowa poll as Zuckerberg reportedly advised mayor’s presidential campaign

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A new poll focused on the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses suggests that Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg is gaining momentum. It shows the South Bend, Ind., mayor has 13% support — good enough for third place in that survey, behind former Vice President Joe Biden’s 18% and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s 17%.

Meanwhile, Facebook Inc. FB, +1.67% CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier this year recommended several potential hires to Buttigieg’s presidential campaign, a Bloomberg News report said on Monday. That’s the first evidence of Zuckerberg — who overlapped with Buttigieg at Harvard — actively helping a 2020 White House campaign, the report added.

Buttigieg’s campaign played down the significance of Zuckerberg’s assistance, with senior adviser Lis Smith tweeting that the recommendations had to do with just “two resumes we received.” Smith also said that the campaign has gotten staff recommendations from former presidents, civil rights leaders, members of Congress and “Pete’s high school teacher.”

In the poll from Suffolk University and USA Today, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont scored 9%, and all other Democratic contenders got 3% or less. Pollsters surveyed 500 likely Democratic caucusgoers in Iowa from Wednesday through Friday, and they reported a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points. There have been significant shifts since a June version of that same poll, which saw Biden get 24% support, ahead of California Sen. Kamala Harris at 16%, Warren at 13%, Sanders at 9% and Buttigieg at 6%.

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Popularity in Iowa is critical for Democratic presidential hopefuls as the first voter verdicts in the party’s primary will come Feb. 3 with that Midwestern state’s caucuses.

In nationwide polls, Buttigieg is generally ranking fourth, well behind Sanders. In a RealClearPolitics moving average of national polls on Monday, Biden had 29.2% support, ahead of Warren at 23.4%, Sanders at 15.2%, Buttigieg at 5.8% and Harris at 5.4%. All other Democratic contenders got 3% or less.