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U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks to the crowd at the Phoenix Convention Center July 18, 2015, in Phoenix, Ariz. (Photo: Charlie Leight, Getty Images)

Sanders and Clinton Neck-and-Neck in Iowa and New Hampshire

New poll finds Sanders more electable in both states when matched against Trump, Cruz, or Rubio

Sarah Lazare

Just weeks ahead of the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are neck-and-neck, polls released Sunday reveal.

In New Hampshire, Sanders is backed by 50 percent—a four point lead over Clinton, who has 46 percent, according to surveys from NBC/The Wall Street Journal/Marist.

In Iowa, Clinton has 48 percent, compared to 45 percent for Sanders.

In both states, the gap between Sanders and Clinton fell within the poll's margin of error. Conducted between January 2 and 7 among 422 likely Democratic caucus-goers, the Iowa survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.8 percent. The New Hampshire survey of 425 probable Democratic primary voters had the same margin of error.

"Turning to the general election," the poll summary notes, "when Clinton and Sanders are each matched against, Trump, Cruz, or Rubio, Sanders does better than Clinton among registered voters in both Iowa and New Hampshire."

Sanders leads in electability by a wide margin: an average of 6 points in Iowa and 21 in New Hampshire.

Sanders' lead is, in part, due to the democratic socialist's strong performance among independent voters.

The latest numbers were broadly interpreted as a good sign for the senator from Vermont, with The New York Times running the headline on Sunday: "Bernie Sanders Makes Strong Showing in New Polls."

The findings come amid growing momentum, including recent reporting from Politico that, in the Nevada caucuses slated for February 20, the state is "suddenly looking like it's in play" for Sanders, "opening another unexpected early state front."

What's more, Sunday's poll findings follow earlier surveys which showed that, when matched against GOP front-runners, Sanders is more electable than Clinton.

In an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News that aired Sunday, Sanders said: "Any objective look at our campaigns would suggest we have the energy, we can drive a large voter turnout."


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