The 2020 Democratic candidates, ranked

CNN's Chris Cillizza ranks the top five Democratic candidates for president one week before Americans begin to vote in Iowa.

Posted: Feb 2, 2020 6:00 AM
Updated: Feb 2, 2020 6:00 AM

There's an assumption in politics that all will be known -- or at least much clearer -- in the 2020 race after the Iowa caucuses on Monday. Voters will have voted, er, caucused! We won't have to rely just on polls anymore!

Here's the thing: There's a not-small chance that such wished-for clarity won't be coming -- for two major reasons:

1) Polling in the run-up to Iowa is all over the place. While it broadly suggests Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has some momentum and former Vice President Joe Biden is his major competitor in the state, the only predictable thing in all of the Iowa polling is how many people say they either haven't decided or could change their mind about their preferred candidate before Monday night.

2) The Iowa Democratic Party will report not just which candidates won the most state delegates as a result of the caucuses (as they have in the past), but also the raw vote total after the first caucusing and the final raw vote total after the backers of non-viable candidates (those receiving less than 15% in any individuals caucus) regroup themselves. (Watch this video for a full Iowa caucus explainer.)

Combine those two factors and you can see why those searching for clarity out of Iowa may have to wait until New Hampshire eight days later -- or even Nevada and South Carolina later in February -- to get a true sense of how the race is shaking out and shaping up.

Below, the five candidates with the best chance of winding up as the Democratic presidential nominee.

5. Michael Bloomberg: It's tough to ignore the national polls showing the former mayor of New York City averaging close to 10%. Bloomberg's ads do seem to be buying him support. Additionally, the rise of Sanders gives a higher likelihood that the first primary states either split their vote, or Sanders emerges as the top candidate. These scenarios are the types that could allow the moderate Bloomberg to be a player on Super Tuesday and beyond. (Previous ranking: Unranked)

4. Elizabeth Warren: The Massachusetts senator enters the Iowa caucuses as the decided second choice for liberals, which is not where she wants to be. Warren spent much of her campaign building a reputation as the policy candidate, but has pivoted in the final weeks of the campaign to argue that she is best positioned to beat Trump in the fall. Warren's saving grace? If there is one, it's the Rolls Royce organization she has built in Iowa. (Previous ranking: tie for 3)

3. Pete Buttigieg: We'll know soon enough if the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is a real contender for the Democratic nomination. It all comes down to Iowa, where the latest polling shows Buttigieg behind but in contention. A strong showing in Iowa will keep Buttigieg alive for the foreseeable future. A poor showing in Iowa, however, would be devastating. If Buttigieg can't win in a Midwestern state that's majority white, how the heck can Buttigieg win in the places needed to win the nomination? (Previous ranking: tie for 3)

1 (tie). Bernie Sanders: Sanders is peaking at the right time. Polling in Iowa, New Hampshire and nationally all reflect the surge of his candidacy. There now exists an utterly plausible path for the Vermont senator to wind up as the nominee, particularly given that a Sanders sweep in the first two states is not out of the realm of possibility. One remaining question: If Sanders is looking like the nominee, will the party establishment line up to stop him? And maybe more importantly, could they even stop him at that point? (Previous ranking: 2)

1 (tie). Joe Biden: The former vice president is so close to the nomination, you can almost taste it. A win in Iowa would make Biden the clear favorite to win. The problem is that it seems that Sanders is the one ahead in most of the higher quality polls coming out of the state. But a loss in Iowa would not be the end for Biden. He still should have strong support once the primary turns to states with more diverse populations. But he would be behind the eight ball in a way he wouldn't be if he were to win Iowa. (Previous ranking: 1)

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 245847

Reported Deaths: 5356
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto16717168
Hinds15748310
Harrison12806188
Rankin10334204
Jackson9996172
Lee8666135
Madison7994158
Jones6112108
Forrest5826117
Lauderdale5672174
Lowndes5186106
Lafayette482792
Lamar471162
Washington4700122
Bolivar3915105
Oktibbeha384279
Panola357274
Pontotoc356552
Monroe3463101
Union334755
Warren334692
Marshall333264
Neshoba3310149
Pearl River313891
Leflore2969104
Lincoln290185
Sunflower275868
Tate264759
Alcorn257850
Itawamba257058
Pike254876
Hancock246957
Prentiss240047
Scott238743
Copiah235649
Yazoo235054
Tippah233845
Simpson230166
Leake226764
Coahoma219054
Grenada213970
Covington207171
Marion203371
Adams200065
Winston196260
George195937
Wayne193029
Attala190958
Newton185142
Chickasaw179943
Tishomingo179059
Holmes167467
Jasper163533
Clay155632
Stone138818
Tallahatchie137033
Clarke135160
Calhoun132021
Smith117322
Yalobusha112534
Walthall110536
Noxubee108922
Greene108229
Montgomery107134
Carroll102320
Lawrence99817
Perry98631
Amite95725
Webster90024
Claiborne84125
Tunica84021
Jefferson Davis82925
Humphreys80324
Benton79722
Kemper75620
Quitman6678
Franklin64613
Choctaw59412
Wilkinson57424
Jefferson52019
Sharkey42317
Issaquena1576
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 414583

Reported Deaths: 5945
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson60842887
Mobile29590538
Madison26466183
Tuscaloosa20537267
Montgomery18562304
Shelby18181112
Baldwin15841177
Lee1212097
Morgan12002112
Etowah11488142
Calhoun10863197
Marshall10048106
Houston8405123
Cullman792294
Limestone785073
Elmore7670101
DeKalb757282
St. Clair7417120
Lauderdale740282
Talladega6036108
Walker5834176
Jackson571937
Colbert522270
Blount521980
Autauga507555
Coffee431456
Dale388278
Franklin362145
Chilton332965
Covington325567
Russell318910
Escambia309842
Dallas297988
Chambers275769
Clarke272933
Tallapoosa2591107
Pike245829
Lawrence239345
Marion238649
Winston222535
Bibb211347
Geneva196331
Marengo196329
Pickens195331
Hale172542
Barbour169636
Butler166958
Fayette164026
Cherokee158330
Henry149219
Monroe143617
Randolph137635
Washington135426
Clay124446
Crenshaw117444
Lamar116819
Cleburne115123
Macon111935
Lowndes107935
Wilcox99921
Bullock97128
Perry95019
Conecuh92820
Sumter89126
Greene75123
Coosa59814
Choctaw50824
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