Don’t look now but Bernie Sanders is surging in Iowa.
The U.S. Senator from Vermont, who proudly wears the socialist label on his sleeve, has pulled even with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the latest poll of likely Democratic caucus goers in Iowa.
Sanders and Clinton are tied, each with 45 percent support, in a combined survey of three respected polling firms, according to the news organization Real Clear Politics. Additionally, in a poll conducted by the Wall Street Journal, NBC News and Marist College, Clinton holds a slim three point lead (48 to 45) in Iowa, site of the nation’s first caucus on Feb. 1.
“The Democratic contests in Iowa and New Hampshire could still go either way,” Lee Miringoff, Director of Marist College Institute for Public Opinion told the Wall Street Journal.
From Iowa, the campaign shifts to New Hampshire for a primary on Feb. 8 where Sanders holds a slim lead in his neighboring state. Sanders’ sudden rise in the polls has some analysts recalling the 2008 campaign when a U.S. Senator from Illinois made a rapid rise in the polls and eventually knocked off Clinton in Iowa. That Senator, of course, is current U.S. President Barack Obama.
But not so fast with the comparisons, okay.
“The most liberal voters tend to tune in sooner and engage more actively, giving an initial boost to progressive candidates,” writes Dan Pfeiffer, a CNN analyst and former White House senior advisor, in a piece in the Washington Post titled “Bernie Sanders isn’t Barack Obama and 2016 isn’t 2008.”
Pfeiffer goes on to note that Sanders has “negligible support and limited name identification among black and Latino voters” and “faces real challenges Obama did not in expanding the base of his support.”
Sanders and Clinton will debate Sunday, Jan. 17, which is the last time before the ballots are cast in February. It will air on NBC.
Meanwhile, on the Republican side, real estate tycoon Donald J. Trump and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas are neck-and-neck in Iowa polling with each pulling 27 percent according to Real Clear Politics. In New Hampshire, Trump is lapping the field with more than 30 percent support compared to 13 percent for his nearest rival, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.
In New Hampshire, Trump has spent more time targeting the state’s newspaper of record, The Union Leader, which is endorsing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
“If their highly unethical behavior, including begging me for ads, isn’t questionable enough, they have endorsed a candidate who can’t win,” Trump tweeted on Monday.
The Republicans will debate again in South Carolina on Thursday, Jan. 14, with Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Christie, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Ohio Governor John Kasich participating on the main stage. The debate airs on the Fox Business Network.