A new NBC News/WSJ/Marist poll of Iowa and New Hampshire reveals that Bernie Sanders is a stronger general election candidate than Hillary Clinton when matched up with top Republicans.
Clinton leads Trump by eight points among registered voters (48 percent to 40 percent), but Sanders is ahead of him by 13 (51 percent to 38 percent);
Cruz tops Clinton by four points (47 percent to 43 percent), but Sanders beats him by five (47 percent to 42 percent);
And up Rubio is up by five points over Clinton (47 percent to 42 percent), while he’s tied with Sanders (44 percent to 44 percent).
In New Hampshire:
Clinton is ahead of Trump by just one point (45 percent to 44 percent), but Sanders tops him by 19 points (56 percent to 37 percent);
Cruz beats Clinton by four points (48 percent to 44 percent), but Sanders leads him by another 19 points (55 percent to 36 percent);
And Rubio bests Clinton by 12 points (52 percent to 40 percent), while Sanders leads him by nine points (50 percent to 41 percent).
The primary reason why Sanders tests better in these general-election matchups is due to his stronger performance with independent voters.
Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver responded to the new polls, “As voters move toward their final choice in Iowa and New Hampshire, it’s clear they are moving heavily to Bernie. Bernie’s message of taking on a rigged economy that sends most new wealth to the top and is held in place by corrupt system of campaign finance is resonating powerfully with voters all across America. And Bernie’s substantial advantage over Republicans in the general election versus Secretary Clinton is another important reason that Democratic primary voters should choose him as our nominee.”
The NBC News polls also revealed that the race between Clinton and Sanders in Iowa and New Hampshire is a dead heat. Clinton’s 3 point Iowa lead is within the margin of error. Sanders’ 4 point to New Hampshire lead is also within the margin of error.
The winner of Iowa traditionally gets a 5-7 point bounce in New Hampshire. The winner of the Hawkeye State’s caucus could be in a great position to win the first two primary contest. Hillary Clinton continues to crush Bernie Sanders in South Carolina, but there are indications of tightening Democratic race in Nevada.
The Democratic contest is turning on the question of general electability. Both Democratic candidates are likely to beat Trump. The question is which candidate will still win if Trump is not the Republican nominee?
Overall, Clinton is still the favorite nationally. The path for Sanders is becoming clear. Sen. Sanders needs to win early and often as the latest polls show that he is gaining momentum’ in Iowa and continuing to lead in New Hampshire.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association