There doesn't appear to be much in the way of good news for Hillary Clinton in the latest Monmouth University poll of Democratic voters. While Clinton maintains the overall lead nationally over challenger Bernie Sanders, that lead is shrinking. A month ago Monmouth had Clinton leading 59% support to 26% for Sanders; now she leads 52% to 37% and she is falling among key Democratic demographics, say the pollsters.
Clinton has lost ground with nearly every major Democratic voting bloc since December. Her biggest drops have come among self-described liberals, going from a 57% – 31% advantage over Sanders one month ago to a 42% – 51% deficit in the current poll. She has also dropped significantly among women (from a 64% – 19% lead last month to a smaller 54% – 35% edge now) and voters under the age of 50 (from a 52% – 35% lead to a 39% – 52% shortfall).
Sanders is currently leading Clinton in the first two states to vote, Iowa and New Hampshire but the poll shows that after those votes, things could turn for Clinton:
“With a shrinking margin, a strong showing by Sanders in Iowa and New Hampshire could cut Clinton’s national lead even more. However, he would still have to overcome Clinton’s demographic advantage in the ensuing contests,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ. “Sanders is aided by the fact that most Super Tuesday contests are open to independent voters – a group where he performs well. On the other hand, about two-thirds of the pledged delegates awarded on March 1 will be from states where black and Latino voters comprise anywhere from one-third to a majority of the electorate. It looks like the demographic dynamic that hurt Clinton in 2008 may be what helps her in 2016.”
That said, if Sanders wins Iowa and New Hampshire, his national standing could rise leading to more interest among Super Tuesday voters and a whole new dynamic for the Democratic race.