Bernie Sanders has surged back in the polls, erasing what was once a massive deficit to pull into a virtual tie with Hillary Clinton just days before the New Hampshire primary.
In the days after Clinton scored a razor-thin victory in the Iowa caucus, a new poll from Quinnipiac shows that Bernie Sanders has closed the deficit.
As ABC News noted, Clinton received 44 percent support while Sanders received 42 percent, within the poll’s margin of error. The last Quinnipiac poll, released December 21, showed Clinton with a 31 point lead, 61 percent to 30 percent.
— ABC News (@ABC) February 6, 2016
As the left-leaning PoliticusUSA noted, voters may be souring to Clinton’s connections to big money and Wall Street and embracing Sanders’ outsider appeal.
“Increasingly, Democratic voters are tired of waiting for their policies to become law. After dealing with eight years of Republican obstruction, Democrats want action. What Bernie Sanders is promising is romantic, sweeping, change. Sanders is offering Democrats what they have been longing for in their hearts. Democrats want a more liberal society.”
The poll may be an outlier. Another poll this week from Public Policy Polling showed that Clinton still lead the race with support of 53 percent of voters to Sanders’ 32 percent. But this too shows a tightening race, as Clinton led by 28 points in December and 33 points in November.
“But he still has some weaknesses that may make it hard for him to catch up,” the poll noted. “Primary among these is African American voters- Clinton leads 82/8 with them and has a 79/9 favorability compared to 27/23 for Sanders. That does suggest some possibility for Sanders to improve his position- part of his problem is just that black voters don’t really know him yet- but he’s starting at a tremendous disadvantage that will make the upcoming run of Southern primaries very difficult for him.”
If the truth is closer to the Quinnipiac poll than PPP’s, then next week’s contest in New Hampshire could be key for Bernie Sanders. With a strong win he may be able to make a strong play as an electable, viable candidate and could spark reminders of 2008 for Clinton, when she lost a similar lead to Barack Obama. And if the trends continue as they already have, then Sanders may even be poised to overtake Clinton with a win in New Hampshire.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 6, 2016
But Bernie Sanders could have more wind behind his sails. Along with the increasingly tightening polls, Sanders may also have the benefit of an audit from the Iowa caucus that he narrowly lost this week. The influential Des Moines Register has called on state officials to conduct a full audit and investigate that alleged impropriety of some Clinton caucus leaders.
The Sanders campaign has been conducting its own investigation into the results, and some examples of apparent misgivings from the Clinton campaign have already surfaced. A CSPAN video allegedly showed the caucus chair and Clinton precinct captain failing to conduct an actual count, and another video reportedly shows a Clinton caucus leader stalling to prevent a vote. In the time that was lost, several of the younger Sanders supporters had to leave, allowing Clinton to have a viable vote when she might not have otherwise.
Even with Bernie Sanders closing the gap in the national polls, he has a difficult fight ahead. Clinton has tightened the race in New Hampshire, which is considered something close to a home state for Sanders, the Vermont Senator. He will need nothing less than a decisive win in order to take momentum into Nevada, South Carolina, and the other Clinton-friendly states that follow, political experts say.
[Picture by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]