A new poll in Iowa shows Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton losing considerable ground to her chief rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, despite having built a formidable network of organizers and volunteers in the state that holds the first presidential contest.
The Iowa poll, released Saturday, showed Mrs. Clinton to be the first choice of 37% of likely Democratic caucus-goers. Mr. Sanders, an independent, received 30%, according to the survey by the Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics.
The Iowa caucuses are set for Feb. 1.
In the 2008 campaign, Mrs. Clinton was the frontrunner in Iowa for much of the contest, only to see her lead evaporate as then-Sen. Barack Obamastormed to a first-place finish.
The Des Moines Register story about the survey quoted J. Ann Selzer, pollster for the Iowa Poll, saying: “This feels like 2008 all over again.”
The Iowa poll comes after recent surveys in New Hampshire showed Mr. Sanders erasing Mrs. Clinton’s lead, as she contends with a controversy surrounding her use of a private email account and server during her tenure as secretary of state.
In a statement Saturday, a spokesman for Mr. Sanders said: “What this new poll shows is that the more Iowans get to know Bernie, the better they like him what he stands for. We’ve seen the same thing in New Hampshire and across the country.”
In recent days the Clinton campaign has been touting its strength in Iowa. It put out a memo on Thursday saying, “By the numbers: The campaign has 47 organizers on the ground with more on the way,11 offices open from river to river where volunteers are being engaged, at least one identified supporter in each of Iowa’s 1,682 precincts, and the support of critical community leaders across the spectrum who are committed to Hillary Clinton and will power this campaign for the next five months.”
Since May, Mrs. Clinton’s support among likely Iowa Democratic caucus-goers has dropped by 20 points, while Mr. Sanders’s backing has risen by 25 points since January, Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll results show.
The survey had some good news for Vice President Joe Biden, who is weighing a possible campaign. Even though he’s not a candidate, Mr. Biden was the first choice of 14% of likely caucus-goers – nearly double the level of support he received in May.
Mr. Biden finished fifth in the Iowa caucuses in 2008 and then dropped out of the race.