Bernie Sanders is steadily creeping ahead of Hillary Clinton in the early nomination states. The Vermont senator has led Clinton, the presumed front-runner, in the past few polls in New Hampshire, posting a 9-point lead in an NBC/Marist poll from last weekend. Now, a new poll shows Sanders leading Clinton for the first time in Iowa, albeit by a narrow margin.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday finds 41 percent of likely Iowa caucus voters supporting Sanders, with Clinton right behind him at 40 percent—still well within the poll’s margin of error of 3.4 percentage points. Quinnipiac’s numbers weren’t too encouraging for Vice President Joe Biden, who had just 12 percent support in Iowa, a state that doomed his last presidential campaign.
Sanders has invested heavily in the earliest caucus and primary states, banking on a string of early victories to transform him from novelty challenger to legit contender. His campaign currently has 53 field organizers in 15 offices in Iowa. Clinton, in turn, bumped up her number of paid organizers last week from 47 to 78.
Even if Clinton trails in the first two states in the nomination process, she’s still crushing Sanders in national polls. RealClearPolitics’ average of national polls puts Clinton ahead of Sanders by a whopping 25 percent. Sanders isn’t even the second choice of national Democrats, with Biden pulling in 22 percent to Sanders’ 20 percent in the most recent nationwide poll, released by Monmouth University earlier this week.
Still, Clinton’s struggles in Iowa and New Hampshire must be troubling to the front-runner. No presidential candidate has won either party’s overall nomination after losing Iowa and New Hampshire since…Bill Clinton in 1992.