Analysis

Democratic Presidential candidate Andrew Yang has taken to the airwaves in Iowa.

Yang launched a seven-figure paid television ad in the state on Thursday. Titled “A New Way Forward,” the TV ad is Yang’s first of the campaign.

A New Way Forward

Rather than focus on a specific topic like automation or universal basic income, the minute-long ad describes Yang’s personal background and key policy proposals. Towards the end of the video, the narrator says:

His ideas are a blueprint for a new way forward… Parent, patriot, not a politician. A new leader who understands that what’s coming is the greatest transformation in history.

The entrepreneur spent more than $1 million on the ad. The hope is that his message will resonate with enough Democratic voters to reflect a boost in his polling numbers.

How Is Yang doing?

The presidential long shot has surprised many commentators who predicted he’d be toast by now. He’s qualified for all of the debates, scored endorsements from Elon Musk and former NFL player Antonio Bryant, outlasted Beto O’Rourke, and raised almost as much money in Q3 as Senators Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker combined.

According to the BBC, the driving force keeping his 2020 campaign alive is a dedicated Yang Gang. Or more specifically, those small donors who are giving less than $200.

Chart of Small Financial Donations provided by the Federal Election Commission
Source: BBC.com

Uphill Battle

Despite benefiting from a dedicated base, the entrepreneur still has a mountain to climb in regards to fundraising and polling. As the race narrows and candidates drop out, Yang will have to take on heavyweights like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, and Pete Buttigieg. Currently, all these candidates have more cash-on-hand and enjoy greater support in the polls.

According to a national poll released Wednesday from Monmouth University, Yang is tied for seventh place with Corey Booker at 3%. Both candidates are miles behind the top tier candidates, with Biden and Warren both polling at 23% among Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters.

A Glimmer of Hope

Although down in the polls, there are some numbers that provide hope for the math-enthusiast. According to a recent CNN poll, Yang has grown faster in favorability than any other candidate. As well, in a New York Times Upshot/Siena College poll, the former tech executive beats Joe Biden among voters under 45.

Poll of Democratic Voters under 45
Source: New York Times Upshot/Siena College poll conducted Oct. 25-30

The overall odds don’t look good for Yang, but a lot can change with three months to go until the Iowa Primary on Feb. 3. He’s defied critics in the past, and I wouldn’t count him out of the race just yet.

This article was edited by Gerelyn Terzo.

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