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Hillary Clinton's lead over Bernie Sanders melts away in new national poll

A striking new poll published Tuesday found former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s lead dropping nationally in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.

The New York Times/CBS News survey found Clinton holding 48% of the vote among primary voters, with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) polling at 41%.

That represented a big gain for Sanders, who had 32% to Clinton’s 52% last month, when the same poll last went into the field.

Though Clinton remains the dominant front-runner in the race, the new national poll on Tuesday follows a batch of polling data showing Sanders performing noticeably better in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states to weigh in on the Democratic primary.

In a Quinnipiac University poll out Tuesday, Sanders was even ahead of Clinton among likely Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa, where Clinton has long held the advantage. That survey found Sanders with 49% support to Clinton’s 44%. Last month, the same pollster found Clinton with 51% and Sanders with 40%.

Meanwhile, Sanders is doing even better in New Hampshire, which borders his home state of Vermont. A Monmouth University poll, also released Tuesday, gave Sanders a 14-point lead over Clinton among voters likely to participate in that state’s Democratic primary.

Exactly where the race stands, however, remains murky. Other polls released this month have found Sanders’ New Hampshire lead much more modest. One, from Public Policy Polling, gave Clinton a 3-point lead there. Clinton has also led in other Iowa polls.

Even if Clinton were to lose Iowa, which votes February 1, and then falter in New Hampshire’s February 9 primary, political prognosticators still widely believe she would have the edge in the following primary states — including South Carolina and Nevada, which have far more diverse electorates.

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