Months ago, Hillary Clinton was so far ahead in the Democratic primary polls that it seemed as though there was hardly a primary race at all. Now, however, Bernie Sanders’ burgeoning support base has pulled the Vermont senator out from oblivion and into very realistic contention with the former Secretary of State. According to the latest Bloomberg Politics / Des Moines Register poll released today, Clinton and Sanders are nearly tied; Clinton has 42% of the Democratic vote, while Sanders has 40%. That 2% lead is within the margin of error, meaning that Sanders could very well be winning Iowa.
"Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to say this is an election about issues, rather than leadership. That really explains the division in the party," said pollster J. Ann Selzer. Voters more concerned with issues favored Sanders, while those who said they were focused on leadership preferred Clinton. Bloomberg Politics also finds that Sanders is advertising more heavily than Hillary, purchasing far more TV spots in the last month, and most of those ads have run in the early primary state of Iowa.That could explain the 7-point gain Sanders has made on Clinton since the previous Iowa polls were conducted.
The poll evidence indicates that Sanders’ support is primarily concentrated in a young demographic (mostly university students), a demographic that rarely turns out to vote on Election Day. Thus, Sanders’ team must do all they can to ensure that their supporters turn out to vote.
With under three weeks left before the Iowa caucuses, the race can still swing in either direction. However, Bernie’s rapidly growing support could be evidence that he will take the first primary.
Are you surprised that Sanders and Clinton are practically tied in Iowa? Who do you think will win in the first primary?