January 13, 2016   |   Claire Bernish
January 13, 2016
(ANTIMEDIA) United States — Bernie Sanders has now taken the lead from Hillary Clinton in Iowa, garnering his highest support yet — with just 20 days to go until the country’s first caucuses.
Sanders now leads with 49% over Clinton’s 44% in the latest Quinnipiac University Poll, which is a 9-point gain for the Vermont senator and a 7-point drop for the former Secretary of State — in less than one month. In fact, Sanders leads by double digits in New Hampshire, as well. Iowa’s caucus and New Hampshire’s primary are often viewed as critically important in the presidential race, due to massive media coverage that can bring as much attention as primary events in all other states, combined.
Clinton’s campaign might be feeling strain from recent allegations of war crimes and a call from former federal prosecutor Joe DiGenova that she be charged accordingly. Another blow to her presidential bid was delivered Tuesday by political group MoveOn.org, when it announced its official endorsement of Sanders. And Clinton’s top aide told supporters in an email he was “nervous” about Sanders’ advertising strength in Iowa and New Hampshire, according to ABC News.
Recent dueling over gun control hasn’t helped Hillary, either, as Sanders’ aides made a point of calling out her lack of commitment to either side of the issue. Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ campaign manager, told CNN‘s Chris Cuomo in an interview, “People will remember that Secretary Clinton has been all over the map on guns, she’s been very conservative on guns, she’s been very liberal on guns.” He added, “I think her argument would be much more compelling if she had a consistent record on the issue.”
Though only slightly above the margin of error, Sanders’ new lead seemingly proves his assertion of being the more “electable” candidate, with 68% of Democrats — 11% more than last month — agreeing Sanders stands a good chance of winning the general election.
“After three months of Secretary Hillary Clinton holding an average 10-point lead among Iowa Democrats, the playing field has changed,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. Sanders also ranked higher than Clinton in several “character traits,” including honesty and trustworthiness, that he “cares about” people’s “needs and problems,” and “shares their values.” People’s perception the two candidates possess strong leadership qualities were virtually tied.
Potential voters preferred Sanders to Clinton for handling the economy — which was their top-ranked issue for this election.
“Sen. Sanders’ surge seems based on the perception by Iowa Democrats that he is a better fit for Iowans,” Brown explained. “They see him, by double-digit margins, as more sharing their values, more honest and trustworthy, and viewed more favorably overall than is Secretary Clinton […] Iowa may well become Sen. Bernie Sanders’ ‘Field of Dreams.’”
Making matters even worse for Clinton, Iowa polling suggests that much of her support derives from voters who are not experienced in Iowa’s difficult-to-maneuver caucus process, where Sanders’ more experienced supporters are likely to perform even better than poll numbers show.
Perhaps Sanders really will pull off a quasi-coup, after all.
“Iowa Democrats like both major candidates personally,” Brown said. “They just like Sen. Sanders more.”
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