Following a heated and extremely competitive debate, the Democratic race for the White House got another shakeup on Friday morning with the release of a new poll by Quinnipiac University. In the survey, which was conducted February 2nd through 4th, Bernie Sanders is now receiving 42% of the vote from Democrats compared to 44% for Hillary Clinton.
This is, for lack of another word, amazing. In late December, Quinnipiac had Sanders down 31 points to the former First Lady, 61 – 30. Now, just a little more than a month later, they show the race as virtually tied. Also, this doesn’t even account for Thursday night’s MSNBC debate, which was the first time Hillary and Bernie went one-on-one.
It appears that the razor-tight Iowa caucus, where Clinton eked out a contested victory, may actually be a sign of things to come nationally. While pundits and experts said Sanders’ competitiveness in the state was likely due to it being more white and liberal than the rest of the country — same thing they are saying about his big lead in New Hampshire — they stated that it would be difficult for him to build any momentum once the action shifted to South Carolina and Nevada. Now, it looks like that may not be quite the case.
Quinnipiac also polled the Republican race, and much like PPP’s survey on Thursday, the university showed a tightening national race, with Donald Trump coming back to the pack and Marco Rubio surging. Trump now sits at 31%, followed by Ted Cruz at 22% and Rubio at 19%. No other candidate polls above six percent, with poor ol’ Jeb Bush sitting at a paltry 3%.
As far as head to head matchups, Bernie fares better against the top three GOP candidates compared to Clinton. Against Trump, Sanders is ten points ahead, 49 -39, and holds a 26-point lead among independents. Clinton is up by five points on Trump, 46 -41, with a 14-point edge with independent voters.
Ted Cruz is tied with Hillary, 45 -45, and independents are torn between the two candidates, with Hillary only holding a one-point lead. Rubio is seven points ahead of Clinton, 48 – 41, with 48% of non-affiliated voters flocking to him, compared to just 39% for Hillary. Sanders, on the other hand, is four points up on Cruz, 46 – 42, and holds a 15-point lead with indies. The Vermont Senator is tied with Marco, 43 – 43, with a slight three-point lead with independent voters.
This is now a race, folks. This is going to be a tooth-and-nail fight through the spring, and the Clinton organization realized they will have to pull out all the stops. Bernie’s support is real. Even if Hillary’s supporters feel Sanders’ campaign is based on fairy tales and unachievable goals, his constituency is not made up.