Iowa Caucus Polls: Days Before Democratic Primary Begins, Bernie Sanders Opens Up Big Lead In Critical State

Scott OlsonGetty Images

Bernie Sanders appears to be surging at just the right time, with a new poll showing the Vermont senator opening up a significant lead in the critical first state of Iowa just ahead of caucuses next month.

The New York Times/Siena College poll released Saturday showed that Sanders had risen to a 7-point lead over the field, taking 25 percent of Democratic caucus-goers. The rest of the field was packed tightly behind Sanders, with the poll showing that South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg came in second at 18 percent, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden at 17 percent, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren at 15 percent.

Sanders jumped 6 points from the same poll taken in October, with much of his gains apparently coming from Warren, who dropped 7 points during that time. Though the number of pledged delegates from Iowa is small compared to later states and to those voting on Super Tuesday, it is key in establishing favorites and could give Sanders a much-needed boost going into the second voting state, New Hampshire. Sanders had been consistently behind Biden in both national and statewide polls but has been rising steadily over the course of the last two weeks.

But as The Hill noted, there still appears to be an uphill battle for Sanders in winning Iowa.

“Despite Sanders’s strength in the poll and the loyal following he’s cultivated since his failed 2016 presidential run, the senator could face headwinds in Iowa should moderates ultimately coalesce behind a single candidate,” the report noted. “Fifty-five percent of the caucusgoers surveyed said they prefer a candidate who is ‘more moderate than most Democrats’ while 38 percent said they want one who is ‘more liberal than most Democrats.'”

Sanders and the other U.S. senators in the race are also facing the challenge of being taken off the campaign trail for the impeachment trial of Donald Trump. Sanders and others have sent surrogates to Iowa in their place during the trial, which is expected to continue for several more days.

Despite the challenges, Sanders has continued to rise at a critical time, just days ahead of the start of voting. As The Inquisitr reported, another recent poll showed that Sanders surged to a double-digit lead in a poll of New Hampshire voters. The WBUR poll showed that Sanders had the support of 29 percent of likely voters, 12 points ahead of Buttigieg who came in a distant second. Biden fell to third in the poll with support of 14 percent of voters.