Amid Fundraising Surge for Sanders, Are Clinton 'Panic Attacks' Backfiring?

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Amid Fundraising Surge for Sanders, Are Clinton 'Panic Attacks' Backfiring?

Also Thursday, Sanders nabbed his first national magazine endorsement from The Nation

The #BernieBus, seen here in Reno, Nevada over the weekend, is bringing National Nurses United members to meet with voters, community supporters, other nurses, and the general public in states around the country, with an emphasis on early voting states, to talk about why nurses are rallying behind the Sanders campaign. (Photo: National Nurses United/flickr/cc)

As a new poll out Thursday shows Bernie Sanders practically tied with Hillary Clinton in Iowa, the Vermont senator's campaign is reporting a surge of donations in response to the former Secretary of State's "panic attacks" earlier this week.

"As of now, we are at about $1.4 million raised since yesterday when the panic attacks by the Clinton campaign began," said Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs on Wednesday afternoon. "We've gotten 47,000 contributions. We're projecting 60,000 donations. Even for our people-powered campaign, this is pretty darn impressive."

On Monday and Tuesday, the Clinton camp struck out at Sanders' single-payer healthcare proposal, drawing criticism from progressive groups who decried the remarks as "a crude, inflammatory distortion." 

Meanwhile, the highly anticipated Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll released Thursday morning shows Clinton leading Sanders by a mere two points—well within the margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points. That's down from 9 percentage points a month ago.

The results of this survey combined with other recent polls are "raising the prospect that eight years after her stinging loss there to Barack Obama, the state that kicks off the presidential nominating process may once again deal the front-runner a momentum-sapping blow," wrote for Bloomberg.

"It shows Bernie is around to stay for sure," Grant Woodard, a Des Moines lawyer who has worked for several state and national Democratic campaigns, told the Register. "It's not a fly-by-night thing. It really shows we’re going to have a pretty crazy last few weeks here."

The Register reports:

[J. Ann] Selzer, the pollster, noted that Sanders scores well with the types of voters who put Barack Obama over the top in Iowa in 2008. Sanders is supported by 62 percent of political independents who plan to attend the Democratic caucuses, compared with 21 percent for Clinton. He also leads 59 percent to 27 percent among those younger than 45 and by 52 percent to 34 percent among people who plan to attend their first caucuses.

Bloomberg adds:

A caveat for Sanders is that his support appears to be concentrated in three Iowa counties—Black Hawk, Johnson, and Story—that are home to state universities. Those counties, where Sanders leads Clinton, 52 percent to 30 percent, account for 27 percent of his vote but just 21 percent of likely Democratic caucus-goers, underscoring the extent to which Sanders is relying on younger voters, a notoriously difficult group to turn out.

Still, Sanders appears to have one built-in advantage and he seeks mobilize his fans into voters: His supporters are more active than Clinton's on social media. Asked about their social media habits, 49 percent of Sanders backers surveyed say they follow candidates on social media, while that was true for 30 percent of Clinton supporters. Meanwhile, 34 percent of Sanders supporters say they've already posted positive comments about candidates compared with 19 percent of Clinton supporters; 17 percent of Sanders backers and 6 percent of Clinton backers have posted negative comments about candidates.

CBS News reported Thursday that the Sanders campaign is seizing this momentum by outspending Clinton on TV advertising "just as voters are beginning to pay attention to the race."

According to CBS:

In the past three weeks, Sanders' campaign has spent about $4.7 million on ads to Clinton's $3.7 million, an investment that so far has meant 1,000 more Sanders commercials than Clinton ads on broadcast TV, according to advertising tracker Kantar Media's CMAG.

The Sanders ad burst is coinciding with his rise in preference polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states where voters will weigh in on the 2016 election. The Democratic contest appears to be tightening.

In fact, CBS wrote: "The turnabout in ad spending—with Sanders topping Clinton in each of the past three weeks—prompted the Clinton campaign last week to send an email to supporters with the subject line "nervous."

"I'm not trying to be dramatic about this (I swear! I'm really not!), but there's a situation developing in Iowa and New Hampshire that could change the course of this election," Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook wrote in the fundraising appeal. Later in the same email: "I just found out that he's outspending us on TV advertising in Iowa and New Hampshire."

Later Thursday, Sanders will be in Hanover, New Hampshire, where he will reportedly hold a 6 p.m. news conference to announce what his campaign is describing as "an important endorsement."

Having recently snagged the backing of progressive advocacy organizations MoveOn and Democracy for America, Sanders on Thursday gained his first national magazine endorsement, from The Nation.

"This magazine rarely makes endorsements in the Democratic primary (we’ve done so only twice: for Jesse Jackson in 1988, and for Barack Obama in 2008)," the editorial board wrote. "We do so now impelled by the awareness that our rigged system works for the few and not for the many. Americans are waking up to this reality, and they are demanding change."

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