Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event in Nashua, New Hampshire, Feb. 4,2020.
Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event in Nashua, New Hampshire, Feb. 4, 2020.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is calling Iowa a "gut punch," but says he isn't "going anywhere" after a poor showing in Monday’s Democratic caucus.

With results reported from 97% of the precincts, Biden is in fourth place, trailing former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — who are running  neck-and-neck — and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren in third place. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar trails Biden.

Campaigning in New Hampshire, which holds the nation's first primary next week, Biden said he won't "sugarcoat" his disappointing showing in Iowa.

Biden is a centrist who calls himself the most electable candidate to take on President Donald Trump in November. He led most of the voter polls even before declaring his candidacy.

"There are an awful lot of folks out there who wrote off this campaign ... they've been trying to do that from the moment I entered the race. Well, I've got news for them. I'm not going anywhere," he said.

Biden, a former senator from Delaware, unsuccessfully sought the presidency twice before, in 1988 and 2008. He dropped out of the race in 2008 after a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses.

There are 41 delegates up for grabs in Iowa, and 14% of the votes still need to be reported.

It took the Iowa Democratic Party nearly an entire day to report even a single vote from Monday's caucuses because of what party officials say was a coding error and vote inconsistencies being reported on a mobile app specially designed for vote counting throughout the rural state.

Iowa Democratic Party chairman Troy Price called the confusion "unacceptable" and apologized for the vote-counting fiasco.

The preliminary results underscores a sharp ideological divide within the Democratic Party as it seeks a candidate strong enough to unseat Trump.

The youthful Buttigieg, 38, represents the moderate wing of the Democratic Party and is the first openly gay Democratic presidential candidate.  Sanders, 78, is a self-declared democratic socialist who endorses universal medical coverage while eliminating private insurance. Buttigieg backs government-run health insurance while letting people keep their private coverage.

Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg takes a selfie with supporters after speaking at a caucus night campaign rally, Feb. 3, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Sanders would provide all students with free four-year college education and cancel outstanding student debt. Buttigieg would limit free college to low-income families while looking for other ways to reduce debt.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., with his wife Jane O'Meara Sanders, speaks to supporters at a caucus night campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa, Feb. 3, 2020.

But both support the "Green New Deal" to combat global warming, favor decriminalizing illegal immigration, vow to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal, and favor bringing home U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

Buttigieg told backers in New Hampshire that although the final results in Iowa are uncertain, what is known so far is an "astonishing victory" for a campaign that started last year with a four-man exploratory committee working for an obscure mayor of a mid-size city.

WATCH: Final results ahead

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The chaos and confusion surrounding Monday's caucuses bring questions whether Iowa can continue to be relied on to be the first state in the nation to officially choose presidential candidates. Iowa's population is 91% white, and some Democratic analysts say the state hardly reflects the national Democratic base, which includes a large percentage of minorities.

But the state's three leading Republicans, senators Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst, and Gov. Kim Reynolds, defended Iowa's role in picking presidential nominees for both Democrats and Republicans. They say they are confident "that every last vote will be counted, and every last voice heard" in the opposition party's contest.