Everything’s coming up Bernie.
A slew of new polls for Iowa and New Hampshire — the first two states to cast ballots in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination — show Democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders in full surge. Iowa’s caucuses are a week from today, and New Hampshire’s primary a week from tomorrow.
The very latest poll for Iowa by Emerson put Sanders at 30%, former vice president Joe Biden at 21% and Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 11%. Sanders is leading in Iowa in the latest New York Times/Siena poll, too, at 25% to former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s 18% and Biden’s 17%. That was a six-point gain for Sanders.
In New Hampshire, a poll released Thursday by WBUR-TV gave Sanders a commanding 12-point lead over his rivals, with Buttigieg in second and Biden in third. Biden is dropping in all the latest polls, but not as much as Warren, who is plunging late.
And another N.H. poll, this one by CNN/University of New Hampshire released on Sunday, showed Sanders has pulled out to a nine-point lead over Biden (at 16%) and Buttigieg (15%). An NBC/Marist poll published over the weekend also gave Sanders a 5-point lead over his rivals.
RealClearPolitics.com keeps a running average of all polls. In Iowa, Sanders has gone from 18% on December 1, 2019, to 25% this week, giving him a 3-point lead. Meanwhile, Warren has gone from 22.5% on November 1 to 13.5% this week.
“The rise of Mr. Sanders has come at the expense of his fellow progressive, Senator Elizabeth Warren: she dropped from 22 percent in the October poll, enough to lead the field, to 15 percent in this survey. Senator Amy Klobuchar, who is garnering 8 percent, is the only other candidate approaching double digits,” the New York Times wrote:
As the strength of the other leading candidates has ebbed and flowed, Mr. Sanders, making his second run for the White House, appears to be peaking at the right time. This month was the first time he has finished atop a poll in Iowa, after also leading a Des Moines Register-CNN survey two weeks ago. The Times-Siena poll’s margin of error was plus or minus 4.8 percentage points.
A victory by Mr. Sanders in Iowa, where he suffered a narrow loss to Hillary Clinton four years ago, would represent a remarkable comeback for a 78-year-old candidate whose heart attack in October threatened to upend his candidacy. It would also create a moment of high anxiety for establishment-aligned Democrats who are deeply alarmed about a potential Sanders nomination.
Iowa and New Hampshire are crucial to every candidate this year. Winning those two states will establish a frontrunner in a race that has seen many lead changes and no clear leader — until Sanders’ surge. As the Times stresses, should Sanders take Iowa and New Hampshire, he “could be difficult to slow.”
That puts Biden in a tough spot. He was expected to walk away with the nomination, but his faltering campaign and numerous blunders on the campaign trail have prompted Democrats to study the other candidates in the race.
Biden has run two other times, dropping out in 1988 long before the first states voted and bailing out in 2008 right after the Iowa caucuses — where he pulled in just 1% of the vote.