Sanders, Clinton in Statistical Tie

Jan 27, 2016

A new poll suggests Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are in a statistical dead heat, with five days remaining before the Iowa Caucuses. 

Wednesday's Quinnipiac poll has the Vermont Senator favored by 49 percent of likely Democratic caucus participants surveyed, and the former Secretary of State favored by 45 percent. This four-point spread is within the margin of error. 

Pollster Peter Brown says the results "could be déjà vu, all over again," from 2008, when Clinton was the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic nomination.

"For Secretary Clinton, this has to bring back bad memories of eight years ago," says Brown. "[She] expected to get her victory train rolling in Iowa, and everyone else did too. But of nowhere came a young, relatively inexperienced U.S. senator from Illinois, Barack Obama."

This statistical tie between two Democrats is also reminiscent of Tuesday's GOP poll from Quinnipiac, which shows a neck-and-neck race between real-estate mogul Donald Trump, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. However, while nearly two-in-five Republicans report they might change their minds before the caucuses, only half as many Democrats say the same.

"There’s less wiggle room, but there are fewer candidates to wiggle around. It’s going to be a very tight race, and turnout, as it always is, is the key," says Brown. 

Wednesday's survey has Clinton polling stronger with women, though not as strong as Sanders's support is among men. Also, voters who identify as "very liberal" are more likely to favor Sanders.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley captured four percent of those surveyed. For a candidate's delegates to be elected to a Democratic county convention, that candidate must have at least 15 percent of caucus attendees to be viable.