(CNN) - Iowa voters are poised to render the first verdict of the presidential race.
"I have never been not willing to take a chance. I think this election we maybe need to take a chance."
Pat Mundy, a retired teacher, has been busy sizing up the field, electing to go with Pete Buttigieg after considering several of the candidates.
"I started first with Elizabeth Warren. I was very pro-Elizabeth in the beginning," Mundy said. "My next candidate was Pete. I heard him speak twice. Joe Biden, he is a source of comfort. Bernie Sanders comes off much more compelling in person than he does on the screen."
A year of listening to candidates at town hall meetings and through TV ads gave voters plenty to think about before making up their minds.
Iowa voter Jon Heitland said his No. 1 issue is someone who can beat President Donald Trump.
"This is the year to play it safe and go with a proven candidate. I think that's Joe Biden," Heitland said.
The signs of the season are everywhere in Iowa, from storefronts to front yards. Many voters have been slow to make their choice as they search for the strongest candidate to challenge Trump.
Their decisions are driven by issues but above all electability. On that front, Democrats are torn whether to choose a progressive path.
Denise Diaz said she's decided on Bernie Sanders.
"I just love his message. I think he has integrity," she said.
But the question of who's everyone's second choice also is critical.
Candidates must win at least 15 percent support in the first round of voting. If they don't, voters turn to their plan B.
For Hope Bossard, that's Biden. She respects him and is comfortable with him, but after seeing him up close, she wasn't electrified.
"I have to weigh this out. I like a lot of the new ideas that Tom Steyer has, but I'm good with Biden. If he's our guy I can support him," she said.
Cheri Scheib saw Biden and Buttigieg on the same day before Christmas and was unsure who she favored. This week, she said she had come to a decision.
"I'm going to be with Pete. I am. Mayor Pete got my vote," she said. "As many times as I've seen him, I've enjoyed him every time. I appreciate everything he says. Smart guy. Today really solidified my thought process. I'm going with Pete."