After one recent poll showed Sanders pulling within eight points of Clinton in New Hampshire, another poll now shows him gaining in Iowa:
Hillary Clinton enjoys a 19-point lead among likely Democratic caucus-goers in the key state of Iowa over her nearest challenger, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, but that advantage has shrunk 26 points since May, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.
The former secretary of state gets the support of 52 percent of her party’s likely caucus-goers in the state, which holds the nation’s first nominating contest, while Sanders, a Senate independent and self-described socialist seeking the Democratic nomination, pulls in support from 33 percent. In May, the split was 60 percent to 15 percent.
It is the first time Clinton has received less than 60 percent support in the poll, according to assistant poll director Peter A. Brown.
While Clinton still has the lead for the nomination, there are still several months for Sanders to make up this deficit. Typically the Iowa polls remain quite volatile with many caucus voters not deciding until the last minute. National polls for the nomination are virtually meaningless at this point as candidates who do well in Iowa and New Hampshire typically show a major bounce after victories in the first two contests.
Sanders also had a good day campaigning in Wisconsin:
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) drew 10,000 supporters, the largest crowd of his campaign thus far, according to reports.“Tonight, we have more people at any meeting for a candidate of president of the United States than any other candidate,” Sanders told his fans at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Madison, Wis., according to The Associated Press.
Gallup shows that the Democrats have regained their advantage in party affiliation:
In the second quarter of 2015, Democrats regained an advantage over Republicans in terms of Americans’ party affiliation. A total of 46% of Americans identified as Democrats (30%) or said they are independents who lean toward the Democratic Party (16%), while 41% identified as Republicans (25%) or leaned Republican (16%). The two parties were generally even during the previous three quarters, including the fourth quarter of 2014, when the midterm elections took place…
Democratic gains in party affiliation may be partly linked to more positive views of President Barack Obama, whose job approval ratings were near his personal lows last fall but have recovered, perhaps related to low unemployment, lower gas prices than a year ago and an easing of some of the international challenges that faced the U.S., such as the Ukraine-Russia situation.