Bernie has gained a lot of ground against Hillary, with the two Democratic presidential candidates in a statistical dead heat in the pivotal early voting state of Iowa, according to a new poll by Quinnipiac University.
The senator from Vermont was the top choice of 41% of those polled. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who has long been the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, was preferred by 40%. According to Quinnipiac—which polled 832 likely Democratic caucus participants with a 3.4% margin of error—more respondents perceive Sanders as “honest and trustworthy” than they do Clinton, who has struggled to shed persistent criticism about her use of private emails while at the State Department.
The survey was conducted at the beginning of September. When Quinnipiac conducted a similar assessment in Iowa in July, Clinton held a whopping 52-33% lead over Sanders. Even then, Clinton’s campaign was wary of Sanders’ Iowan support.
Iowa holds its first-in-the-nation caucuses—a complicated process to select delegates who support a given presidential candidate—on Feb. 1, and is then followed by the first US primary in New Hampshire on Feb. 9. Sanders, who hails from nearby Vermont, has established a small lead over Clinton there, as well.
The Sanders campaign strategy, according to his adviser Tad Devine, is to concentrate its efforts on winning two early states and then quickly mobilize around the rest of the country. The problem with that strategy, according to FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, is that Iowa and New Hampshire Democratic voters are much more liberal and white than in the rest of the country, “and that’s the core of Sanders’s support.” So it’s totally possible, says Silver, that Sanders wins in Iowa and New Hampshire and then loses everywhere else.