A new Loras College Poll of likely Democratic caucus-goers shows Hillary Clinton still enjoys a large lead in the state for the party’s presidential nomination.
But, poll director Christopher Budzisz says her lead has shrunk over the summer. “In our April poll, Hillary Clinton was the first-choice candidate of 57 percent of those we polled. Now, she’s at 48.2 percent,” Budzisz says.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders had just two-percent support in the April poll. He now has the backing of nearly 23 percent of Iowa Democrats taking part in the survey. The Iowa Caucuses are five months away and Budzisz says Sanders has time to close the gap on Clinton.
“I do think he has the opportunity to narrow it, especially when you look at the polling numbers…a large percentage of Democratic caucus-goers think favorably of him, but he still has a chunk of people who haven’t formed an opinion yet,” Budzisz says. “Whereas, for Hillary Clinton, everyone knows her and everyone has made up their minds on her in a way in terms of favorability or unfavorability. So, Sanders still has some room there to increase that number, I think.”
Sanders has drawn large and enthusiastic crowds in Iowa and across the country this summer. While Clinton’s level of support has dropped since the April Loras College Poll, Budzisz says Clinton is still “viewed favorably” by nearly 78-percent of respondents in the new poll. “She’s still seen in a positive light and when we ask people if there’s anyone they absolutely wouldn’t vote for, despite some negative news coverage Hillary Clinton might be getting, you’re not seeing that translate in our poll of people saying ‘I wouldn’t vote for her,'” Budzisz says.