Sen. Bernie Sanders, the only candidate in the Democratic race who identifies as a Democratic socialist, is rising in polls of early-voting states, which appears to be worrying the left.
For polling on the Iowa Democratic presidential caucus, RealClearPolitics has Sanders leading by 3.2 points on average, and the trend is similar in New Hampshire, where RCP has him with an 8-point advantage over former Vice President Joe Biden.
In some polls, such as in Boston Herald/FPU’s survey, Sanders’s lead marks a change from just two weeks ago, when Biden led the pack of Democrats with 26 points.
Even still, however, FiveThirtyEight cautions that the race between Sanders and Biden is neck-and-neck.
The most recent Iowa survey had Biden up slightly, 23 percent to Sanders's 21 percent, leading especially among moderate and older voters, while Sanders captures the young and progressive wing of the party.
While Biden has a slim advantage in this poll, other recent surveys show Sanders ahead, including a New York Times Upshot/Siena College poll released last weekend. An analysis published Sunday by the Times found that Sanders generally leads in polls of all voters who say they are likely to caucus next week, while Biden runs better in surveys that are restricted to voters who have participated in recent elections. (Politico)
“An electorate that includes higher numbers of traditional Democratic primary voters could increase Biden’s lead to as much as 6 points,” according to Monmouth's press release. “On the other hand, a caucus electorate that is more heavily populated by voters who do not participate in primary elections could result in a Sanders lead of about 4 points.”
Speaking in Storm Lake, Iowa, Sanders urged supporters that they need to focus on turnout, not polling.
“This election is going to be very tight, this caucus will be very tight here in Iowa,” he said. “And I don’t care what the polls say today, we are ahead, we are behind. That doesn’t matter. What matters is voter turnout. That is what matters.”