An Emerson College Poll of Iowa shows Hillary Clinton with a nine-point lead over Bernie Sanders. The Emerson poll contradicts the latest CNN/ORC poll that showed Sanders with an eight-point lead.
The Emerson College Poll has Clinton leading Sanders 52%-43%. Clinton led with Democrats 54%-42%, but Sanders led with Independents 44%-36%. According to Emerson, the data for both parties fluctuated wildly during the polling period, “The data for both parties’ candidates fluctuated on the three days of polling. Clinton held a 14-point lead over Sanders on Monday, dropped to 9 points on Tuesday and was down to a 1-point margin (48% to 47%) on Wednesday.”
The extreme fluctuations suggest that victory will hinge who turns out to caucus. The Clinton camp has been investing heavily in courting Democratic voters who have caucused in the past. The Sanders camp is looking to boost turnout in Iowa with a wave of Independents and new voters.
The reason the polling is all over the map in Iowa is because the data will vary depending on whether a poll is made up of Democratic caucusgoers or likely caucusgoers.
The only certainty in the recent polling is that Iowa is completely up for grabs, and victory will come down to who has the better field organization to get their supporters out to caucus. Iowa looks to be split between Clinton and Sanders, which means that the polls are probably going to continue shifting.
Iowa Democrats have a real choice in 2016, and their decision could ripple throughout the rest of the party’s primary.