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Bernie Sanders spoke to an exhibition hall packed with supporters Tuesday night in St. Paul. (Photo: Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune)

Huge Crowds, Surging Polls for Sanders as 'Revolution' Revs Engine Ahead of Iowa

With wall-to-wall crowds, climbing poll numbers, and a wave of critical new endorsements, Bernie Sanders is riding high.

With wall-to-wall crowds, climbing poll numbers, and a wave of critical new endorsements, less than one week before the primary contests officially commence, Bernie Sanders is riding high.

Two new polls out on Wednesday show that the senator from Vermont is not only holding fast on his lead in Iowa, but also continues to gain against frontrunner Hillary Clinton nationally.

The voter enthusiasm that has defined much of Sanders' candidacy was on full display Tuesday evening when an overflowing crowd of 14,000 people rallied at an exhibition center in St. Paul, Minnesota, following an afternoon rally in Duluth that saw a crowd of 6,000 people.

"You, and millions of other people, need to come together," Sanders said in Duluth. "You need to say loud and clear that when so many men and women fought and died to save our country, that we the people are going to have a government that represents us, not just a handful of billionaires."

Sanders' message—that in order for political revolution to happen, voters must come out to the polls—echoed statements he made earlier in the day Tuesday during a campaign stop in Iowa.

"In my mind," Sanders told reporters, "we will win here in Iowa if the voter turnout is high. And frankly, if the voter turnout is not high, we're going to be struggling."

A new Quinnipiac University poll (pdf) out Wednesday confirmed Sanders' viability in the February 1 Iowa contest. The survey found that Sanders leads Clinton 49 percent to 45 percent among likely Iowa Democratic caucus-goers, results which are "virtually unchanged" from the January 12 survey which had Sanders ahead of Clinton 49 to 44 percent.

Meanwhile, a new ABC News/ Washington Post poll (pdf) reveals that Clinton's lead over Sanders nationally has fallen to its lowest point yet, with 55 percent versus 36 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who are registered to vote. Notably, Sanders gained 17 points among independent voters.

What's more, the survey notes, "Clinton’s single greatest vulnerability has worsened in this poll." Forty-eight percent of respondents said Sanders is "more honest and trustworthy," versus Clinton with 36 percent.

Earlier this week, Robert Reich, a leading economist who served as Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton, and is a longtime associate of Hillary Clinton, surprised many when he threw his support behind Sanders.

In a column explaining his position, Reich wrote that Clinton is "the most qualified candidate for president of the political system we now have. But Bernie Sanders is the most qualified candidate to create the political system we should have."

"The upcoming election isn’t about detailed policy proposals," Reich continued. "It’s about power—whether those who have it will keep it, or whether average Americans will get some as well."

Indeed, that distinction was on full display Tuesday when Clinton stopped campaigning in Iowa to attend a pair of Wall Street-sponsored fundraising events.

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