Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg ended his presidential bid on Sunday, but despite his “moderate” label polls show that his voters’ top second choice is Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Buttigieg, who won the most delegates in Iowa and effectively tied Sanders in New Hampshire, announced that he would end his campaign after winning just 8.2% of the vote in Saturday’s South Carolina primary.
“The truth is the path has narrowed to a close for our candidacy if not for our cause,” he said on Sunday. “We must recognize that at this point in the race, the best way to keep faith with those goals and ideals is to step aside and help bring our party and country together.”
Buttigieg spent much of the end of his campaign criticizing Sanders. CNN reports that he is considering endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden.
Bernie is top second choice for Pete’s voters:
Though Buttigieg is considered a moderate and may throw his support behind Biden, a Morning Consult poll conducted just before he exited the race suggests a large chunk of his supporters will back Sanders.
More than 21% of Buttigieg supporters said Sanders was their second choice while 19% said they would support Biden. Another 19% said they would back Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and 17% said they prefer former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
Buttigieg move not good for Sanders:
Though many of Pete’s supporters back Bernie, FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver points out that his departure hurt Sanders’ chances of winning a majority of delegates.
“Buttigieg was projected to get under 15 percent in the vast majority of states and districts on Super Tuesday. Thus, his votes were essentially wasted,” Silver explained. “Redistributing his votes to other candidates will help them to meet the 15 percent threshold, however. In particular, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg were both close to the 15 percent line in many states or districts. So even an extra percentage point or two would help them get over that line in more places… Conversely, Sanders was already projected to get 15 percent almost everywhere. So although he will pick up a few Buttigieg voters, they don’t necessarily translate to more delegates.”