Pete Buttigieg has polled third place in two new US election polls, with one putting him ahead of former Vice President Joe Biden.
A straw poll from the political action group Democracy for America (DFA), taken between April 1 and 19, put Buttigieg in third place with about 10 percent of the vote, fractionally behind Elizabeth Warren (11 percent) but ahead of Biden (8 percent).
Both Buttigieg and Warren trailed veteran senator Bernie Sanders who commanded 42 percent of the vote, according to Politico.
The poll is not indicative of public opinion. However it is significant in that it shows a jump in support for the gay presidential hopeful within the DFA’s million-strong membership, which was an instrumental part of Sanders’ 2016 campaign against eventual nominee Hilary Clinton.
In the group’s last survey, Biden was second to Sanders at 15 percent, with Buttigieg trailing at less than 4 percent.
A separate poll of registered US voters, taken between April 15 and 21, by Morning Consult put Buttigieg in third place on 9 percent, behind Biden (30 percent) and Sanders (24 percent).
Pete Buttigieg shuts down Mike Pence feud at CNN town hall
On Monday night (April 22), Buttigieg appeared at a televised CNN town hall debate with Sanders, Warren and two other Democratic hopefuls.
During the event, he was quizzed on his “public back and forth” with Vice President Mike Pence by moderator Anderson Cooper.
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Buttigieg was asked to respond to the US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, who has accused him of “pushing a hate hoax along the lines of Jussie Smollett.”
He fired back: “I’m not a master fisherman but I know bait when I see it and I’m not gonna take it.”
“I’m not a master fisherman but I know bait when I see it.”
Buttigieg and Pence have been trading barbs for several weeks.
On April 7, Buttigieg accused Pence of “having a problem” with his identity as a gay man.
“That’s the thing that I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand – that if you got a problem with who I am—your problem is not with me, your quarrel sir, is with my creator,” he said at a Victory Fund event.
Three days later on April 10, Pence told CNBC that Buttigieg had “said some things that are critical of my Christian faith and about me personally.”
Buttigieg is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He came out as gay while campaigning for his second term in 2015, when Pence was the state’s governor.
During his governorship, Pence signed into law a bill which allowed businesses and churches to refuse business based on religious grounds. After nationwide criticism, an amendment was passed guaranteeing protections for LGBT+ people.