New Poll: Hillary Maintains Thin Lead over Bernie in Iowa

(Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP)

DES MOINES, IOWA—On Saturday evening, The Des-Moines Register released its final poll before the Iowa Caucuses.

On the Democratic side, it shows that Hillary Clinton has maintained her slim lead over Bernie Sanders. The poll finds that 45 percent of likely Democratic caucus-goers will support Clinton while 42 percent will go for Sanders. The numbers fall within the poll’s margin of error.

As expected, Clinton wins the majority of older, and more moderate Democrats, who have been reliable caucus-goers in past elections. Sanders garners a majority of the support from first-time caucus-goers, political independents, and Iowans under 35. (Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the numbers).

The poll affirms that Sanders’s main challenge is to make sure that his supporters—less experienced than Clinton’s—actually turn out to caucus. Clinton, who’s been methodically targeting traditional Democratic caucus-goers in the state, has a far more dependable base of support.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump has regained his lead over Ted Cruz, apparently showing that sometimes it pays not to show up.

The Des Moines Register poll has long been considered one of the most accurate and reliable trackers in the Iowa Caucus. Check out this great profile (by Prospect alum Clare Malone) of Ann Selzer, an Iowa pollster who hit the national spotlight when she correctly predicted that Barack Obama would win in Iowa back in 2008.

For the Democrats, the poll makes clear that the outcome depends on who does the better job of rallying supporters. We will find out in less than 48 hours. 

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