Bernie Sanders may have hit the wall, with new polls indicating that Hillary Clinton has staved off the Vermont Senator’s push and could soon cement her place as the Democratic Party’s front runner for the nomination.
A CNN/ORC poll released Friday shows that Clinton has an 18-point lead over Sanders in Iowa, a state where Sanders has been investing considerable resources and was hoping to steal from Clinton.
Clinton crossed the 50 percent mark in the poll, gaining support from 55 percent of likely caucus voters. Sanders had 37 percent support.
It nearly matches the 19-point advantage Clinton when the same poll was conducted back in August, the Washington Post noted. In the weeks since then, Sanders has made a jump in the polls and appeared to be threatening Clinton. But with Vice President Joe Biden deciding not to enter the race, it appears she has shored up her support and is now in an even stronger position against Sanders.
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) November 8, 2015
In this week’s Iowa poll, voters picked Clinton as top on the economy, foreign policy, health care, climate change, and gun control. And perhaps more importantly, three-quarters believe she has the best chance of defeating the eventual Republican nominee in 2016.
It may be a fast fall from grace for a candidate who once seemed primed to complete what would be a giant upset in the Democratic primary. Just last week, The Huffington Post‘s H.A. Goodman published an article drawing comparisons between Sanders this year and Barack Obama in 2008.
At the time, Obama also trailed Hillary Clinton by double digits in polls, but he ended up pulling off an upset win in the Iowa caucus that propelled him to the nomination.
The Case for Bernie Sanders: His critics say he’s not realistic – but they have it backwards https://t.co/LMa0wQYiCP
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) November 7, 2015
Goodman tried to put some of the polls into context.
“Human beings, not summaries of landline telephone calls to four hundred people, decide the fate of elections.”
“In addition, the public relations spin pertaining to schizophrenic polling data attempts to rewrite history at every turn. Remember, Yahoo wrote shortly after the Democratic debate that although one poll showed Clinton won, “the same poll found Clinton’s lead on Sanders had actually decreased following the debate.”
Goodman also cited a September article from The Huffington Post claiming that Bernie Sanders could still overtake Hillary Clinton, noting that Sanders appeared to have momentum on his side.
That momentum may now be gone. Many political experts believe Bernie Sanders may have plateaued in the polls, and could be facing new problems, including fundraising.
As Sanders has been introduced to an ever-widening audience, some of his more left-leaning views have also come under a microscope. One of the biggest problems could be his self-identification as a socialist. While Sanders explains how that means he is in favor of socialized institutions that Newsweek notes “reduce risks of life in a market society” — including local fire departments — it remains a tricky word for the general voting public.
A recent Marketplace-Edison poll suggested that many Americans now hold the views of democratic socialists, yet many are still turned off by the “S-word” and that could be a problem for Bernie Sanders when trying to raise money.
While Bernie Sanders still has time to turn around the polls, experts believe it will take more than just strong speeches and big political rallies. Sanders may need a major miscue from Hillary Clinton, one that either forces her supporters to change camps or makes her a very troubling general election prospect.
[Image via Instagram/Bernie Sanders]