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Emotions and motion: On the bus with Biden in Iowa

"Where Did You Get This Number?" is a podcast going inside the 2020 presidential campaigns, with analysis from CBS News campaign embeds, polls and other stories from the 2020 race. Subscribe today!  

Former Vice President Joe Biden holds the lead among the 18 early states for the 2020 presidential Democratic primary season, according to the latest CBS News Battleground Tracker poll

But recently, Biden's support in Iowa, a crucial early state with its caucuses coming up February 3, has dropped 8 points from June to November. Biden recently embarked on an 8-day "No Malarkey" bus tour across the Hawkeye State. 

On this week's episode of the "Where Did You Get This Number?" podcast, host Anthony Salvanto and CBS News 2020 campaign reporter Bo Erickson discuss Biden's strategy in Iowa, specifically concerning undecided voters and Republicans dissatisfied with President Trump. Erickson was with the Biden campaign's bus tour when this episode was taped. 

Listen to this episode on Stitcher

Biden's 18-county, 8-day bus tour through Iowa is an attempt to connect with undecided voters whom President Trump and other Democratic candidates may be forgetting. Erickson said many of these people are just beginning to tune in to the election season.

"They're not watching cable news all day. They're not monitoring Twitter," Erickson said. "And so bringing the campaign message directly to these small towns and maybe sometimes — in, you know, in 2016, these precincts and these caucuses in county wide had a couple hundred caucus votes. And Joe Biden is bringing in maybe 2-, 3-, 400 people on an event."  

Out of the 18 counties on the tour, 15 of them went for President Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Some of them even went 60% to 80% towards Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton. 

"A lot of these people that I'm talking to on these Republican fronts, they did support [Trump] in 2016. But the tariffs and how they are affecting agriculture here in Iowa has just been a devastating blow to a lot of people," Erickson said.     

Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Continues "No Malarkey" Bus Tour Through Iowa
Joe Biden arrives at a campaign stop on December 2, 2019 in Emmetsburg, Iowa. The stop was part of his 650-mile "No Malarkey" campaign bus trip through rural Iowa. Getty Images

Erickson also addressed being in the room during a tense exchange between Biden and a retired farmer at a campaign stop in New Hampton, Iowa. Biden calls the man "a damn liar" after being accused of selling access to President Obama through his son's role involving a gas company in Ukraine.

"So this is really unlike any exchange of the past the campaign has with voter," said Erickson, noting that many of the attendees were Biden supporters. "There were some actually school-aged children in the room and they were like kind of jumping around, like almost gasping, seeing such a fired-up Biden."

Subscribe to "Where Did You Get This Number?" and listen to the latest episode to hear more the latest on Biden's 2020 campaign in Iowa, including the way he represents himself to voters through words and shared grief, why he is confident in Iowa despite the high percentage of undecided voters, and other stories!

The podcast is available on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherSpotifyArt19, or wherever you get your podcasts.  

 Host: Anthony Salvanto, Director of Elections and Surveys at CBS News

Guest: CBS News 2020 Campaign Reporter Bo Erickson

Production Team: Maeve Burke, Rachel Armany, Allen Peng

Twitter: @WDYGTN

Instagram: @getthisnumber

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