Polls show a logjam at the top of the 2020 Democratic field in Iowa and New Hampshire

Key Points
  • 2020 Democratic presidential nominating contests start in less than a month with the Iowa caucuses. 
  • Polls show virtual ties in both Iowa and New Hampshire, with Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg leading the pack, and Elizabeth Warren not far behind. 
  • Biden has a significant edge in national polls and in surveys of Nevada, while he has a massive lead in South Carolina.
Democratic presidential hopeful former Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders participate of the sixth Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season co-hosted by PBS NewsHour & Politico at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California on December 19, 2019.
Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images

As 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls swarm early primary and caucus states, polls suggest at least four candidates have a real shot to claim the race's first two prizes.

Nominating contests start in Iowa on Feb. 3. New Hampshire votes about a week later, followed by Nevada and South Carolina in late February.

Iowa and New Hampshire, at least, appear unpredictable with just under a month to go. Polling averages in both states show Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., with an edge but in a virtual tie with former Vice President Joe Biden and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, according to RealClearPolitics. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., sits not far behind the leaders in both contests.

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Biden has held a lead throughout the primary in national surveys. Both he and Sanders have solidified their standing in the last month, seizing a clear first and second spot in U.S. polls. The former vice president also has a significant edge in polls of Nevada and a massive lead in surveys of South Carolina, according to averages.

The candidates will scrap for position in Iowa during next week's CNN/Des Moines Register primary debate in Des Moines. Only five candidates have qualified: Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg, Warren and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

The race could change in the coming weeks. Victories in Iowa or New Hampshire, and the media and donor attention that come with them, can propel candidates to success in the contests that follow.

The charts below show the top five candidates in polling averages nationwide and in the first four nominating states, as tracked by RealClearPolitics.