Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg has risen to third place in a poll of Democrats running for office.
The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, officially began his presidential run in the 2020 elections earlier this month.
Buttigieg had the support of 17% of 2,500 Democratic primary voters polled by Change Research.
He is behind former Vice President Joe Biden, who is expected to announce his presidential campaign next week. Biden is in first place with support at 21%.
In second place is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, trailing just behind Biden at 20%.
The top three candidates are all far ahead of the next hopeful in the rankings, Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, who polled at 9%.
‘A dramatic rise in popularity for Buttigieg’
Since forming an exploratory committee for his run for president in January, the openly gay Buttigieg has experienced a surge in support.
‘These results represent a dramatic rise in popularity for Buttigieg,’ Change Research officials wrote.
The 37-year-old is the only openly gay member of the Democratic race for the presidency. Buttigieg has been open about his struggles to come to terms with his sexuality.
The candidate has been particularly critical of Vice President Mike Pence, who hold anti-LGBTI rights beliefs on the grounds that they are not compatible with his Christian faith.
‘[I] wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand,’ Buttigieg, who is a devout Episcopalian, said on 7 April. ‘That if you have a problem with who I am, your quarrel is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.’
Buttigieg also gained recognition in January after calling out the deeply religious Pence for becoming a ‘cheerleader for [Donald Trump’s] porn star presidency’.
Diversity… in moderation
Though Buttigieg’s popularity shows signs of diversity and progressiveness in the Democratic camp, this comes with a caveat: While openly gay, Buttigieg is also among four other white, cisgender men ranked at the top of the poll.
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts had the support of 8% of respondents, with California Senator Kamala Harris gaining 7%.
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and former Georgia state legislator and gubernatorial candidate, Stacey Abrams, each stand at 4%.
Trailing at the bottom of the survey is Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, and businessman Andrew Yang, who are all tied at 2%.
The Change Research poll was conducted among 2,518 Democratic primary voters across the US. It has a margin error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.