WASHINGTON: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are now running neck-and-neck for the Democratic presidential nomination, with the Vermont senator lagging only two percentage points behind his White House rival, a nationwide poll showed Friday (Saturday in Manila).
The survey, carried out after this week’s Iowa caucuses which Clinton won by a hair, reveals Sanders closing in on the former secretary of state and longtime frontrunner.
Clinton and Sanders now stand at 44 to 42 percent, according to the Quinnipiac University poll of registered voters, revealing a drastic shift since December 22 when the pair stood at 61 and 30 percent respectively.
“Democrats nationwide are feeling the Bern as Senator Bernie Sanders closes a 31-point gap to tie Secretary Hillary Clinton,” Quinnipiac University Poll assistant director Tim Malloy said.
In the Republican camp, frontrunner Donald Trump, who came second in the Iowa nomination contest behind archconservative Ted Cruz, still has a strong national lead, Quinnipiac said.
Trump is polling at 31 percent nationwide, ahead of Cruz on 22 percent and Florida Senator Marco Rubio who is snapping at their hells with 19 percent support.
Neurosurgeon Ben Carson is on six percent—the only other Republican candidate to pass the three-percent mark.
In a presidential contest, Clinton would beat Trump 46 to 41 percent and tie Cruz 45 to 45 percent, the Quinnipiac figures suggest.
Sanders, meanwhile, would wallop Trump by a resounding 49 to 39 percent and beat Cruz by 46 to 42 percent, Quinnipiac said.
When voters across the political divide were asked whether they viewed a candidate favorably or unfavorably, Sanders fared the best while Trump was worst off.
“While Trump, Clinton and Cruz wallow in a negative favorability swamp, by comparison, Rubio and Sanders are rock stars,” Malloy said.
Fifty-six percent of participants had an unfavorable view of Clinton, compared to 39 percent who viewed her favorably. For Trump the numbers ran at 59 and 34 percent respectively.
For Sanders, 44 percent viewed him favorably against 35 unfavorably. Similar numbers were seen for Rubio, who 42 percent viewed favorably compared with 28 percent unfavorably.
On Thursday night, Sanders and Clinton faced off in a nearly two-hour debate at the University of New Hampshire during which the former first lady mounted a sharp attack on her democratic socialist rival, warning his promises of revolution “don’t add up.”The Quinnipiac poll was released four days before the state of New Hampshire votes in the first primary of the 2016 election race.
It was conducted from Tuesday through Thursday among 1,125 registered voters, with a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.