Bernie Rising

With New Hampshire residents poised to flock to the voting booths this Tuesday, February 9, 2016, polls show Bernie Sanders should win by a landslide.

After the near-tie in the Iowa caucus (Clinton won 49.9% to Sanders’ 49.6%), a February 3 poll by NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist showed Sanders crushing Clinton 58% to 38% among likely Democratic voters in New Hampshire.

A February 4 poll from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell/7 News showed Sanders with an even more massive lead, 63% to Clinton’s 30%.

Clinton has lost much support since last spring, when she dominated New Hampshire polls. A writer for Mother Jones suggests this draws into question the idea Sanders is only winning because the state neighbors his home state of Vermont, as does the fact that New Hampshire tends to vote for more “establishment” candidates, not progressive outsiders. In other words, his support grows due to his ideas, not home field advantage.

Sanders’ insurgent campaign made similar gains before the closest result in Iowa history (coin tosses were involved), and has now eroded Clinton’s national lead as well. Formerly up by 31 points nationally, Clinton now leads Sanders by just 2 points (44%-42%), according to a Quinnipiac poll released Friday. A margin of error makes it neck and neck.

New Hampshire’s primary on Tuesday comes after last night’s tense, heated Democratic presidential debate, during which Clinton lambasted Sanders for his “artful smear” campaign insinuating “anybody who ever took donations or speaking fees from any interest group has to be bought” and that politicians who take “donations from Wall Street,” like Barack Obama and herself, are not “progressive.”

Clinton found it “quite amusing” that Sanders would call her part of the “establishment,” because “a woman running to be the first woman president” could not be part of the establishment.

Sanders countered:

What being part of the establishment is…is in the last quarter, having a super-PAC that raised $15 million from Wall Street, that throughout one’s life raised a whole lot of money from the drug companies and other special interests. To my mind, if we do not get a handle on money in politics and the degree to which big money controls the political process in this country, nobody is going to bring about the changes that is needed in this country for the middle class and working families.

This exchange is common in the race thus far, and will likely be repeated. Sanders refuses donations from corporations and the wealthy, instead building a grassroots campaign on small donations from individuals and unions. Clinton’s top donors are big banks and corporations, and despite her challenge to critics like Sanders to “just name one” instance where money influenced her vote, her quid pro quo relationship with corporate power is so well-documented other senators talk about it openly.

Even so, Sanders raised $20 million in January, to Clinton’s $15 million.

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