In the first Monmouth University poll conducted in Iowa since the Benghazi hearings, Hillary
Clinton has vaulted to a huge 65-24 percent lead over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. While Monmouth had not polled the Democratic race in their previous survey, another polling firm had the Iowa caucus as a dead heat in September. A Quinnipiac Poll released on September 10th had Bernies Sanders leading Clinton by a slim 41 to 40 percent margin.
With Joe Biden choosing not to run for president, Clinton has had an opportunity to consolidate her support among centrist Democrats. However, since Biden was polling just 12 percent in the Iowa Quinnipiac poll, his choice not to run seems far less significant than another factor that is driving Clinton’s numbers forward. The House Benghazi panel that showcased Hillary Clinton outwitting a pack of Republican inquisitors was a godsend for her campaign.
If Republicans were trying to stop Hillary Clinton from becoming president, holding a public hearing on Benghazi was a poor idea, as they gave her an opportunity to demonstrate her poise and competence on a grand stage. The hearings helped her boost her likability with voters, especially Democratic voters.
According to the Monmouth Poll, 88 percent of Iowa Democratic caucus-goers have a favorable impression of Hillary Clinton, with just 8 percent viewing her unfavorably. While there is no way to determine how much of her popularity is a result of her masterful testimony before the Benghazi Committee, her political fortunes have clearly taken a turn for the better after those hearings.
In the interest of balance, Senator Sanders probably ought to request that Congress conduct a hearing to investigate him for imaginary misdeeds, so that he can catch up to Hillary Clinton in Iowa. If Republicans were hoping for a divisive primary where Sanders would soften up Clinton, or perhaps even defeat her for the Democratic nomination, they did themselves tremendous harm by overreaching on their witch hunt against her.
Clinton now holds a dominant lead over Sanders in Iowa, and the Republicans have only themselves to blame. Trey Gowdy’s committee has given Clinton’s campaign a great deal of momentum, and it is showing up in the polling coming out of Iowa.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.