Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has taken an eight-point lead over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 51%-43% among likely Democratic caucus-goers in a new CNN/ORC Poll.
According to CNN:
Sanders, meanwhile, has opened up an eight-point lead over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, leading her in Iowa 51% to 43% among likely Democratic presidential caucus-goers.
Sanders’ lead is in part built on his economic policies. Democratic caucus-goers said they trust the Vermont senator over Clinton on the economy by 22 points, and 67% said they thought he would do more to help the middle class, as opposed to 30% who felt that way about Clinton. Clinton, a former secretary of state, led on foreign policy, garnering more trust by 40 points. She also was seen as more likely to win the general election in November, 60% to 38%.
Of Democrats who caucused in 2008, Clinton leads Sanders, 55% to 38%. In December, Clinton led Sanders in the Hawkeye State by 18 points in CNN/ORC’s polling, 54% to 36%.
A big change in the support for Sanders came on the issue of healthcare. In the Nov/Dec 15 poll, Clinton led Sanders 63%-31% on the issue of healthcare. In the new poll, Sanders leads Clinton 51%-45%. Sanders also led Clinton on the question of which Democrat represented voters like themselves by a margin of 57%-38%. Sanders has expanded his lead over Clinton on who would do more to help the middle-class to 67%-30%.
It isn’t surprising that Sanders is leading with new voters, and Clinton is leading with Democrats who caucused in 2008. The Sanders campaign has targeted bringing new voters into the process in Iowa while the Clinton campaign is targeting voters who have caucused before. It is a battle of two competing strategies and victory in Iowa will turn on which campaign executes their strategy the best.
Democrats now have a real competitive primary on their hands. Bernie Sanders is poised to win both Iowa and New Hampshire. If Sanders wins early and often, he could change the trajectory of the entire Democratic primary. Sanders is getting exactly what he needed to win while for Hillary Clinton the pressure continues to grow as a nomination that looked like a lock is set to become a fight.