Dec. 16 (UPI) -- Former Vice President Joe Biden topped the list of potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, according to a poll of potential Iowa caucusgoers.
Biden was the first choice of 38 percent of potential caucusgoers, followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 19 percent and Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke in the Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll.
The poll showed 54 percent of caucusgoers would prefer electing a candidate who could unseat President Donald Trump in the upcoming election, versus 40 percent who preferred a candidate that shares their ideals.
Biden was the most popular candidate among both groups, garnering 36 percent of support from those focused on defeating trump and 30 percent from those more focused on ideology. Sanders and O'Rourke were equally popular candidates in the effort to defeat Trump at 14 percent, while Sanders was the more popular of the two among those looking for a candidate that shares their ideals, earning 26 percent of support to O'Rourke's 8 percent.
Biden's overall popularity was reflected in the fact that 49 percent of caucusgoers responded they would prefer a "seasoned political hand," versus 36 percent who favored a "newcomer."
The former vice president also campaigned for president in Iowa ahead of the 1988 and 2008 caucuses, and was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972.
"This is obviously a warm welcome to some people who are really familiar to caucusgoers in the state," J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., the firm that conducted the poll told the Des Moines Register. But there's also some welcoming of newcomers who are only now starting to come to the state and get to know the people who could shape their future."
Biden was viewed favorably by 82 percent of caucusgoers, with 15 percent viewing him unfavorably and 4 percent saying they were unsure. Also near the top, 74 percent of caucusgoers had a favorable view of Sanders, with 22 percent viewing him unfavorably and 4 percent saying they were unsure.
Caucusgoers were generally supportive of the field overall, with 52 percent saying they would prefer a field of strong contenders and 46 percent saying there wasn't a single candidate in the field they would never support.
Another presidential run by 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton was largely opposed by the respondents, with 72 percent saying they would detract from it, while 76 percent said they would support a run by former first lady Michelle Obama.
The poll was conducted over the phone by Selzer and Co. Monday through Thursday among a random sample of 455 likely Democratic caucusgoers. The results have a margin of error of 4.6 percentage points.