The Note: Polls stoke electability concerns for Democrats in week before Iowa

Many voters hoped the choices would winnow before having to make up their minds.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

If it's all about electability in the Democratic primary, who, exactly is electable -- and against whom?

A blizzard of late national and early state polling does virtually nothing to clarify the race one week before the Iowa caucuses -- though does plenty to worry Democrats about the road ahead.

Four candidates could plausibly win Iowa. Key newspapers are endorsing non-front-runners. And the candidate who might be best poised to win both of the first two states is not even technically a Democrat: Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Whatever happens in Iowa, at least one new candidate will now make the debate stage in New Hampshire, with a polling surge for Andrew Yang. And don't sleep on Michael Bloomberg: He is flirting with double digits nationally, though he isn't playing in any of the first four contests.

Tested against the top six Democrats in national polls, Trump ranges from 46 to 48% support among registered voters. The Democrats clock in at between 45 -- Pete Buttigieg -- and 50 -- Joe Biden. Unlike in the last round of ABC/Post polling, in late October, none of them lead Trump outside the margin of error.

The strength of the economy appears to be keeping Trump competitive and then some. Plus, at a time that the Democratic race would normally be dominating the news, 93% of Trump supporters say they're enthusiastic about supporting the president for reelection, compared to 81% of those supporting Democrats.

Many Democratic voters have been hoping their choices would winnow before having to make up their minds. That, it would appear, will not happen until after voting starts -- and perhaps well after.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Despite Republicans’ efforts to limit new evidence into Trump's impeachment trial, facts around the case just changed.

If true, the argument from a firsthand witness would undercut a key pillar of the president’s defense.

Saturday, during the defense team’s opening statements in Trump's impeachment trial, White House deputy counsel Mike Purpura told senators, “The Democrats entire quid pro quo theory is based on nothing more than the initial speculation of one person: Ambassador (Gordon) Sondland. That speculation is wrong.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer fired back, “There are people who have eyewitness accounts.”

Democrats have pleaded with Republicans to call those closest to the president to testify, insisting that the president’s team is still trying to have it both ways: accusing the House of having a circumstantial case, but blocking witnesses who would have direct knowledge.

Now that news of Bolton’s experience is out in print and a part of the public discourse, the White House’s insistence that he stay silent looks even more suspect. The question now: will Republicans stay indifferent to questioning Bolton and, if they do, will that look like complacency to a cover up?

The TIP with Terrance Smith

Democratic primary candidates took a brief moment to break away, from what is a constantly crowded news cycle, to react to news of NBA legend Kobe Bryant's death.

Yang, known for his basketball playing, took to Twitter, "This is the worst news. Kobe is an all-time great who had his entire life ahead of him. My heart goes out to his family, his fans and the millions of people whose lives he touched. Today Kobe is the greatest of all time."

Biden -- no stranger to loss -- reacted to the news at an event in Des Moines, Iowa.

"As I was getting off the bus to come in, I heard about Kobe Bryant. I didn't know him well. I only met him a couple times -- but, you know, it makes you realize that -- that you gotta make every day count, every single solid day -- every single day count," Biden said, in what also registered as advice for the candidates in the days leading up to the Iowa caucus.


ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Monday morning’s episode features ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne on the tragic death of NBA star Kobe Bryant. Then, ABC News Senior Editorial Producer John Santucci discusses the newly obtained 2018 audio recording of President Donald Trump, talking to two men he later claimed not to know, about an ambassador to Ukraine he later demoted.


  • President Donald Trump greets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at 11 a.m. and has a bilateral meeting with him. Vice President Mike Pence joins them for an expanded bilateral meeting at 11:30 a.m. At 12:30 p.m., the president and vice president meet with Netanyahu's political rival Benny Gantz. Trump and Pence have lunch at the White House at 1:15 p.m. and at 3:30 p.m., the president and vice president participate in a swearing-in ceremony with the administrator of the Small Business Administration at 3:30 p.m.
  • At 2:30 p.m., Pence delivers remarks at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Lunar New Year Celebration.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden holds a community event in Cedar Falls, Iowa, at 11 a.m. (CST), a community event in Marion, Iowa, at 3 p.m. and a community event in Iowa City, Iowa, at 6:30 p.m.
  • Andrew Yang holds a town hall in Orange City, Iowa, at 10 a.m. (CST), a town hall in Le Mars, Iowa, at 11 a.m., a town hall in Sioux City, Iowa, at 12 p.m. and a town hall in Council Bluffs, Iowa at 7 p.m.
  • The Senate impeachment trial resumes at 1 p.m.
  • Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has a coffee with local leaders in Portland, Maine at 3:20 p.m., he will then open a campaign office in Scarborough, Maine at 4:15 p.m., he will then have an organizing even in Burlington, Vermont at 12:45 p.m.
  • Former Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., holds a bus tour with a campaign event in Cedar Falls, Iowa, at noon (CST), an event in Tripoli, Iowa, at 4 p.m. and a team dinner in Waterloo, Iowa, at 7 p.m.
  • Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg holds a town hall at 1:15 p.m. (CST) in Boone, Iowa, a town hall in Iowa Falls, Iowa, at 3:30 p.m., a town hall in Vinton, Iowa, at 5:30 p.m. and a town hall in North Liberty, Iowa, at 8 p.m.
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, holds a town hall in Meredith, New Hampshire, at 6 p.m.
  • Tom Steyer holds a town hall at 6 p.m.(CST) in Ames, Iowa.
  • Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis.

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