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SOUTH BEND, Ind. — South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is third among Democrat candidates for president, even though he technically isn’t a candidate yet.

In a recent Emerson poll of likely Iowa caucus voters, Buttigieg just ranked third behind former Vice-President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, respectively. He was ahead of names such as Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Beto O’Roarke.

“You can’t put too much stock in polls but obviously not bad news,” Buttigieg said. “We know we’re a long way, almost a year form the caucuses, but certainly an encouraging data point as we look at the road ahead.” 

Speaking to reporters about road an infrastructure issues in South Bend Tuesday, Buttigieg dropped a few hints about which way he might be leaning as he continues to work with an exploratory committee, which is helping him consider his options in running for president.

“We could use more state and federal support (for roads) and I hope that it is something that the next president, hopefully me, will be looking at and paying attention too,” said Buttigieg.

His popularity took a jump this month after he appeared on a CNN Town Hall. Buttigieg has also reached the required amount of donors to his campaign to appear on the debate stage at the first Democrat primary debate in a little more than a year.

(PHOTO: The Washington Post/Getty Images)