DES MOINES, Iowa — Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont remain in a tight battle for the lead in the Iowa caucuses following new rounds of results released late Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon.
After a daylong delay, the Iowa Democratic Party has now made public 86% of results from all 99 Iowa counties.
Buttigieg continues to hold a slight lead over Sanders in State Delegate Equivalents (SDE), 26.9% to 25.2%. That's followed by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (18.2%), former Vice President Joe Biden (15.6%), and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (12.5%).
Although Buttigieg leads Sanders in SDEs, Sanders leads in both the First Vote (people's initial preference) and Final Vote categories.
- Sanders: 24.3%
- Buttigieg: 21.5%
- Warren: 18.6%
- Biden: 14.8%
- Klobuchar: 12.7%
- Sanders: 26.1%
- Buttigieg: 25.5%
- Warren: 20.4%
- Biden: 13.7%
- Klobuchar: 11.9%
After the final vote, Bernie Sanders was only ahead of Pete Buttigieg by about 900 votes.
How is Buttigieg leading in SDE's even though Sanders is leading in the vote tally?
"Buttigieg basically is doing better in a lot of counties, a lot of precincts that get more state convention delegates than their turnout, at least proportionally, so Buttigieg is benefiting from that," said MSNBC election results expert Steve Kornacki.
In Iowa's most populous county, Polk, Sanders and Buttigieg are tied at 25.9%.
Candidates must win at least 15% of the vote to receive any delegates.
The Associated Press says it is too early to declare a winner.