Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton is losing major ground in the key early state of Iowa.
A new Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register poll released on Saturday shows Clinton’s support among likely Iowa caucus-goers at just 37%, only 7% higher than liberal insurgent challenger Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).
That’s down dramatically from the 50% support the former secretary of state enjoyed in the same poll conducted in June and a 20% drop from her standing in May.
“It looks like what people call the era of inevitability is over,” pollster J. Ann Selzer said in a press release. “[Clinton] has lost a third of the support that she had in May, so anytime you lose that much that quickly it’s a wake-up call.”
Clinton’s image also continue to sink.
The percentage of Democratic Iowa caucus-goers who said that they had a mostly favourable view of Clinton dropped 11% from July, while her unfavorable numbers rose 9 points.
The drop coincides with Sanders’ rise in popularity. Thirty per cent of likely Iowa Democratic caucus-goers now say they back him as their first choice, up 6 points from June.
But though Sanders has continued to rise in the polls, its still unclear whether he can reach a broader base of support.
Polling experts have repeatedly pointed out that while Sanders could feasibly pull of an upset in Iowa and/or New Hampshire, he still faces serious electoral challenges in states like South Carolina, where white liberal voters — Sanders’ base of support — make up a smaller share of the electorate.
Iowa is a particularly sensitive spot for the Clinton campaign.
Then-Sen. Barack Obama’s upset win over Clinton in 2008 was a major setback to her campaign. Clinton had been viewed as a likely front-runner for the nomination, but ultimately came in third in Iowa — behind Obama and former Sen. John Edwards (D-North Carolina).
The Bloomberg/Des Moines Register poll also found a jump in standing for Vice President Joe Biden, who is considering a late entry into the race. He would grab 14% of the vote from likely Iowa Democratic caucus-goers, the poll shows, and he’s viewed more favourably than Clinton.