In a surprise, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has taken a clear lead over other Democratic presidential aspirants in Iowa. The state’s first nominating contest will be held in February.

This latest news came from the Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom opinion poll on Saturday.

Reports said Buttigieg’s support soared 25 percent and marked a 16-point surge in support since the previous survey held in September. Buttigieg, 37 reportedly invested in a good campaign infrastructure in Iowa with 100 staffers and 20 offices.

Democrats behind him in the opinion polls are Senator Elizabeth Warren at 16 percent, former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders placed equally with 15 percent.

The Monmouth University poll released on Tuesday also indicated Buttigieg’s lead in Iowa. A New York Times/Sienna poll released in early November had shown Buttigieg’s support has been surging in Iowa but he was trailing behind Warren and Bernie Sanders.

Buttigieg, 37 expressed happiness that the campaign’s momentum is growing in the farm-state, but added “still a lot of work to do.”

The campaign of Buttigieg is betting high on the Iowa caucus on Feb. 3. It will decide whether the Mayor will elevate himself to the national stage and attract more black and Hispanic voters to his fold.

So far Buttigieg has not been high on the national radar and averaged only 8 percent support in polls.

Among the aspirants, Warren has lost six percentage points while Biden slipped five points since September. But Sanders was able to gain four points, CNN said.

Support expands across demographics

The big lead in Iowa opinion poll suggests Buttigieg is the first choice for 25 percent of would-be Democratic caucus-goers. That marks a drastic surge from the 9 percent he had in September, per The Register polls in the state.

Buttigieg is known for his moderate political views, soft-spoken style and military time.

The elevated standing of Buttigieg in Iowa also reflects his steady support among different demographic groups. Sizable support is evident among the ranks of Democratic Party sympathizers and independents.  Young, dynamic, and moderate, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg has emerged as a challenger in the centrist lane in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination Young, dynamic, and moderate, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg has emerged as a challenger in the centrist lane in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination Photo: AFP / SAUL LOEB

The Mayor’s support is almost equally distributed in cities, towns, suburbs, and rural areas. But Buttigieg seems to have slightly better standing among with incomes more than $100,000 (32 percent) and with moderates (32 percent).

Buttigieg's standing among union households is 17 percent and acceptance among liberals is slim at 12 percent.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden said he would not legalize marijuana on a federal level if elected president. In his view, there is not “enough evidence” as to “whether or not it is a gateway drug.”

Speaking in Las Vegas on Saturday, the former VP said whether the U.S. should legalize cannabis at the federal level is up for debate.