BREAKING NEWS MSDH reports 675 new coronavirus cases, 8 new deaths Monday Full Story

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.

Confirmed Cases: 115088

Reported Deaths: 3255
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7973177
DeSoto703979
Harrison522384
Jackson457884
Rankin394086
Madison383194
Lee357380
Forrest304678
Jones292484
Washington258399
Lafayette250443
Lauderdale2478135
Lamar225538
Oktibbeha202454
Bolivar201677
Neshoba1849111
Lowndes179962
Panola170040
Leflore167187
Sunflower162349
Warren154855
Monroe150673
Pontotoc147220
Marshall143129
Lincoln140157
Pike138456
Copiah137536
Scott125429
Coahoma124937
Grenada122638
Yazoo122234
Simpson121549
Union118825
Tate116839
Leake115041
Holmes114760
Itawamba113925
Pearl River113660
Adams108544
Prentiss106120
Wayne101722
Alcorn100112
George99218
Covington97527
Marion95042
Tippah90322
Newton86627
Chickasaw85526
Tallahatchie84526
Winston84121
Hancock84028
Tishomingo81241
Attala79426
Clarke75851
Clay69321
Jasper68717
Walthall63927
Calhoun62612
Noxubee59817
Smith59416
Montgomery54923
Yalobusha54514
Claiborne53716
Tunica53517
Lawrence51814
Perry49423
Carroll49312
Greene47818
Stone47514
Humphreys43816
Amite42513
Quitman4206
Jefferson Davis41011
Webster37613
Benton3416
Wilkinson33820
Kemper32615
Sharkey28514
Jefferson27610
Franklin2423
Choctaw2086
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 158701

Reported Deaths: 2680
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23292377
Mobile16916315
Tuscaloosa10345140
Montgomery10250197
Madison935096
Shelby739063
Baldwin665869
Lee654665
Calhoun459961
Marshall439550
Etowah428551
Houston417034
Morgan416435
DeKalb342629
Elmore320853
St. Clair295542
Limestone287230
Walker279492
Talladega266435
Cullman248024
Lauderdale229442
Jackson215915
Autauga205931
Franklin205531
Colbert202132
Russell19493
Blount193225
Chilton188432
Dallas186627
Coffee177111
Dale176351
Covington174729
Escambia172730
Clarke135217
Chambers135044
Pike134113
Tallapoosa132987
Marion108129
Barbour10339
Marengo101922
Butler101140
Winston92913
Geneva9067
Lawrence85832
Pickens85218
Bibb84014
Randolph82716
Hale76830
Washington74912
Clay74412
Cherokee73814
Henry7176
Lowndes71328
Bullock64917
Monroe64610
Crenshaw60830
Perry5926
Fayette57713
Cleburne5698
Wilcox56812
Conecuh56113
Macon53620
Lamar4965
Sumter47221
Choctaw39212
Greene34216
Coosa2043
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Overcast
60° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 60°
Columbus
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 63°
Oxford
Broken Clouds
54° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 54°
Starkville
Overcast
57° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 57°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather