So where does that leave us? And what impact could Iowa have on the candidates’ chances to win the nomination?
Below, our occasional, tiered rankings of the top candidates — this time, pared down to 10 candidates. As usual, No. 1 is ranked as having the best chance to win the nomination.
10. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii): Gabbard makes the list just ahead of the two candidates who didn’t, Sen. Michael F. Bennet (Colo.) and former congressman John Delaney (Md.), because she has actually qualified for recent debates and inched up in a few polls. That hasn’t been the case in Iowa, though, where the Register and Monmouth polls both had her at 2 percent. If she can make it to New Hampshire, she might fare a little better. (Previous ranking: 13)
9. Businessman Tom Steyer: The shock poll of last week came from Fox News. It was of the South Carolina primary, where Steyer somehow leapfrogged to second place behind Joe Biden, at 15 percent. He was also at 12 percent in a Fox poll of the Nevada caucuses (and 8 percent in another Nevada poll). We probably shouldn’t read too much into that beyond that the billionaire is spending heavily, and perhaps these states aren’t fully engaged. He’s also lagging far behind in Iowa and New Hampshire, so it’s not clear how much of an option he’ll be come late January. (Previous ranking: 12)
8. Businessman Andrew Yang: Yang missed a debate for the first time this week, which isn’t ideal for a candidate trying to expand his base at a crucial time. He’s around the low-middle single digits in pretty much every national and state poll, so you wonder how much upside is left. (Previous ranking: 11)