As Michael Bloomberg hit the campaign trail on Tuesday, another contender in the moderate lane, Pete Buttigieg, surged into second place in the Democratic nomination race according to a new poll.
The Quinnipiac national poll put the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, on 16 percent, trailing Joe Biden but leapfrogging progressive candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
Billionaire Bloomberg, who entered the contest to win the Democratic nomination on Sunday, was tied for the fifth spot on three percent alongside Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar.
Buttigieg up, Warren slumps
The rise of Buttigieg in the Quinnipiac survey – from 10 percent on October 24 to 16 percent now – mirrors the recent polling trend, which has seen the Afghanistan veteran jump to the top of the field in the first nominating state of Iowa and move into the top tier in New Hampshire.
Biden remains steady on 24 percent, but the other big mover is Warren, the Massachusetts senator under pressure over her Medicare-for-all healthcare proposal. After steady momentum over recent months, the new poll shows her slumping from 28 percent in October to 14 percent.
The poll indicates an increasing dislike for Medicare-for-all: 36 percent told Quinnipiac it is a good idea (down from 43 in October), while 52 percent said it's bad (up from 45).
"Biden is back on top of the pack, but now there is a 3-way race for second," Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy said in a statement. "Buttigieg has broken into the top tier, apparently at the expense of Warren, who has taken a dive after being hammered for being too far left on health care and other issues."
However, in the FiveThirtyEight weighted average of national polls, Biden holds a nine-point advantage over Warren, who is marginally ahead of Sanders. Buttigieg, despite his climb in recent polls, sits in fourth place on 9.2 percent a little over two months before the Iowa caucuses.
Bloomberg campaigns in Arizona
The Quinnipiac poll offers mixed news for 77-year-old Bloomberg, who, on Tuesday, said he would release his tax returns without specifying how many years of records would be made public.
The founder of Bloomberg LP has an extremely narrow path to the nomination and starts from a low base, but three percent in the Quinnipiac poll puts him on a par with second-tier candidates Harris and Klobuchar and ahead of Cory Booker, who is struggling to meet the polling threshold to make it onto the Democratic debate stage in December.
Bloomberg sharply contrasted his views with those of President Donald Trump on the campaign trail in Arizona on Tuesday, telling an audience at a Mexican restaurant near Phoenix that the U.S. needs "an awful lot more immigrants rather than less."
The former New York City mayor's choice of campaign state also indicated a break from the strategies of rivals for the Democratic nomination. Arizona is rarely a target for the party's presidential hopefuls, but AP reported that Bloomberg believes it is crucial to the general election.
It's one of four states he will spend 100 million U.S. dollars on online advertising attacking Trump, according to AP, and one of five where his campaign will focus on registering voters.
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