Just 1 in 6 people likely to head out in the cold next February for Iowa’s first-in-the-nation Democratic caucuses say they relish the chance to choose from a field of 23 candidates, according to a new CNN/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll. Nearly 80% say they wish at least a few would drop out.
Those likely to participate in the caucuses virtually are slightly more likely to say they like getting to consider all of the possibilities (25% compared with 18% among likely in-person attendees), and among both in-person and virtual likely attendees, younger people are more apt to say they like having all those choices than are older people.
The field of Democratic candidates running for the party’s nomination is historically large. And very few of the declared candidates are gaining much traction in Iowa, according to results from the same poll released Saturday night. Eighteen of the 23 declared candidates tested in the poll have support from 2% of likely caucus participants or less.
All told, very few people who plan to caucus next February say they are actively considering all 23 candidates tested in the poll. Just 1% of those who are likely to attend in-person said affirmatively that they were considering every single candidate in the field, and no one who plans to attend virtually said the same. On average, likely in-person attendees are considering about six candidates, and it’s closer to five for those who plan to attend virtually.
When those who said they wish at least some of the candidates would drop out were asked whether that meant most of the field, several candidates, or just one or two, about a quarter of likely in-person attendees said they want most of the field to drop out (27%), about half said they’d like “several” candidates to end their bids (47%), and just 5% said they were talking about culling the field by one or two.
The CNN/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll was conducted by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines, Iowa, from June 2 through 5 among a random sample of 600 likely Democratic caucus participants reached on landlines or cellphones by a live interviewer. The sample included 433 who said they plan to attend the caucuses in-person and 167 who said they plan to attend virtually. Results for the combined sample of likely caucusgoers have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.0 percentage points; it is 4.7 points for those planning to attend in-person, 7.6 points for those who plan to attend virtually.