AP VoteCast: Many coalitions in Iowa Democratic caucus vote

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Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks to supporters at a caucus night campaign rally, Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The outcome of the Iowa caucuses was muddled, but voters sent clear signals about their values and how they shaped their candidate preferences.

Findings from AP VoteCast show the leading contenders each drew their strength from a unique set of coalitions — and the motivations and energy of these groups could be decisive for who wins the nomination.

Bernie Sanders got a boost from younger voters. Pete Buttigieg connected with voters who want to dramatically change the political system but view themselves as moderates. Elizabeth Warren drew much of her support from college graduates and women. Joe Biden appealed to older voters who saw a chance to recapture an era before President Donald Trump. And Amy Klobuchar built a coalition of older women and moderates.

AP VoteCast is a wide-ranging survey of more than 3,000 voters who said they planned to take part in Monday’s Democratic caucuses in Iowa, conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

Here is what the survey findings reveal about the coalitions as the candidates prepare for fast-approaching primaries in New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina:


For Sanders, Iowa was a return to a state where his once quixotic presidential ambitions in 2016 proved to be both plausible and durable.

The Vermont senator and self-identified democratic socialist nearly tied Hillary Clinton in the delegate count four years ago — and that gave him a foundation of loyalists to build on in 2020.