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Clinton holds narrow lead over Sanders in latest poll ahead of Iowa caucuses

BY   January 30, 2016 at 8:20 PM EDT
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves to supporters after a campaign rally at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa January 30, 2016.  REUTERS/Adrees Latif - RTX24Q6J

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves to supporters after a campaign rally at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa January 30, 2016. Photo by Adrees Latif/Reuters

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is clinging to a narrow lead over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders with two days left before Monday’s Iowa caucus, a new poll shows.

Clinton is leading Sanders 45 to 42 percent among likely Democratic caucus-goers, according to a Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll released Saturday evening. Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley came in third with three percent.

Clinton has led Sanders in Iowa for months — she was up 49 to 38 percent in a Des Moines Register poll taken just last month — but the closer-than-expected race has tightened in recent weeks as Sanders continues to gain momentum ahead of Monday’s caucus, especially among women and younger voters.

“Our campaign has come a very long way in eight months. In late May, according to the Register/Bloomberg poll, we were down by 41 points. Today we are virtually tied. The momentum is with us,” Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ campaign manager, said in a statement.

The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to the poll.

Clinton’s lead fell within the poll’s four-point margin of error. The survey of 602 likely Democratic caucus goers was taken Jan. 26-29.

Sanders is counting on a big turnout to spur him to victory, and political insiders agree that an above-average turnout would likely help the Vermont senator, but it remains to be seen how many of his supporters will actually show up on Monday.

Clinton is leading among Democrats who say that they are “definitely” going to caucus, the poll found. Sanders is up with Democrats who say they’ll “probably” caucus on Monday.

The numbers could shift in the next 48 hours as Clinton and Sanders make their final plea to voters at campaign stops across Iowa.

But the pre-caucus Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll, by the pollster Ann Selzer, is viewed by many as the gold standard in predicting the final outcome.

Selzer became famous for accurately predicting that Barack Obama would beat Clinton in the 2008 in a poll ahead of that year’s Democratic caucus.

 

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