Oct. 5, 2015 — Now, just four months from the first presidential votes being cast in Iowa, developments are occurring in the Democratic race that suggest we are headed for an interesting ride. Though it is unlikely the Dems will go to a brokered convention -– the nomination rules are written to avoid such a conclusion — three points will play a major role in shaping the early outcome of their presidential contest.
As we consistently see in national polling, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continues to lead, but her margin is smaller than in earlier days. Though holding between 15- and 20-point national leads over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT), she now consistently polls below majority support among likely Democratic primary or caucus participants. When the national campaign began last year, Clinton steadily placed in the 60s against the group of potential candidates, including Vice President Joe Biden. Now, she routinely registers only in the low to mid-40s.
The confirmed data also tells us that the former First Lady is finding political trouble in the first two nomination states, Iowa and New Hampshire. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT) has taken discernible leads in both places. The effect upon her losing both contests could be major. Her third-place showing in Iowa back in 2008 did not initially kill her campaign, but it certainly put her on the road to defeat. She was commonly viewed as the “inevitable” nominee before the Hawkeye State caucus vote, but not after, as then-Sen. Barack Obama began to steal the spotlight from her.