By LIZ MACLEAN
It’s a battle between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination. For most of 2015, Clinton was leading in the polls, with Sanders always in the background. In June of 2015, Clinton led with 58.3 percent while Sanders struggled at 15.6 percent, reported the Huffington Post. However, recent polls and political experts predict Sanders Sanders will grab a win at the Iowa caucus on Feb. 1.
Now they are head-to-head in a race that could go either way. TheySanders are tied in Iowa, the best Sanders has done throughout his campaign, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll. Clinton is at 42 percent of votes, while Sanders is at 40 percent, but experts agree that this is well within the margin of error, so the two are essentially tied.
Although Clinton still has a higher chance of winning the Democratic nomination, political experts say Sanders has a higher chance of winning the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, which may be a game-changer for the national election. As the first caucus/primary in the nation, Iowa has the potential to be a big determining factor in who receives the Democratic nomination.
The WSJ/NBC/Marist poll predicts that, if Sanders wins the Democratic nomination, he could beat either Senator Ted Cruz or Donald Trump in the November election.
In response to recent polls, Sanders says that Clinton should be worried. Furthermore, Clinton’s top aide sent an email describing how Sanders’s advertising tactics were strong in both New Hampshire and Iowa, endangering Clinton’s campaign, said ABC News.
“With his numbers rising in the polls, he has a shot at beating Clinton in the primary election,” said Andrea Papandrew, a senior government and world affairs major.
After the release of the email, 68 percent of Democrats said Sanders has a good chance of winning the national election in November, a statistic that has climbed 11 points since the end of 2015, reported ABC News.
Even Clinton’s supporters are a bit anxious about Sanders’s upward surge, and some agree that it could be a close call between him and Clinton for the Democratic nomination.
“I think his secret weapon, maybe his silver bullet even, is the young adult population that hasn’t been involved in politics up until this point,” said Katie Mitchell, a teacher from Iowa.
This recent surge in followers for Sanders could be due to the fact that about 25 percent of Democrats in Iowa view Clinton as dishonest and untrustworthy, and do not believe that she shares their values or cares about their problems, according to ABC News. As for Sanders, whose two greatest weaknesses have been the question of his leadership and experience, less than 10 percent of people believe him to be a less than strong leader or lacking necessary experience, said ABC News.
However, there is still opposition toward Sanders that could keep him from winning the election.
“I feel like even a lot of liberals think he’s too far to the left and would rather give Clinton the nomination,” said Lexi Betters, a sophomore international business and finance major. “A lot of his plans are very radical and wouldn’t get through Congress.”
Many college students support Sanders’s plan to make public college tuition free, a huge endeavor, but one that could save many from massive debt.
“I agree with his plan to make college free and creating more equality for women and other minorities, but I don’t agree with his policy plan on reforming immigration in the U.S.,” said Papandrew.
“He talks about ensuring that immigrants have access to healthcare through Obamacare, but that system is already experiencing massive problems and adding more people to it won’t help one bit,” she said.
Betters also agrees that free college tuition would be a major help, but says it could lead to higher taxes for the middle class.
Clinton is leading among non-white voters, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.
She also has a lead among voters over the age of 45. However, Sanders has a hold on many
Independent voters who say they will vote Democrat in the primaries, as well as many of the
younger Democrats and some labor groups. For the most part, Clinton has wealthy donors who contribute to her campaign, while Sanders has more of the middle and lower-class voters who advocate economic equality, says Cleveland.com.
Political experts say that Sanders needs to gain support from blacks and latinos in order to have a chance at beating Clinton for the Democratic nomination. He also needs many of his supporters to actually go out and vote.
“I think he’s really popular among college-age people and those in their twenties,” said Betters. “He seems to really care about average people and wants to implement social change.”
Sanders recently received endorsement from MoveOn, a liberal political organization, which will
undoubtedly be a huge help to him in terms of gaining more Democratic voters because it is held in high esteem by many Democrats.
If Sanders emerges victorious after the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, it would be a
huge credit to him and most likely earn him votes in other states, possibly fueling his campaign to the White House. However, if Clinton wins in many of the other states, as she is predicted to, it could be all over for Sanders.