With just days to go before the Iowa Caucus, here's where we stand.
National RCP Polling Average
Iowa RCP Polling Average
New Hampshire RCP Polling Average
While these figures suggest Biden to still be the most likely nominee, I'm starting to feel more optimistic about the direction of things in this race for the first time since early October! After the Warren surge abated, I felt pessimistic about the chances of a progressive candidate winning the nomination for a change. But polling data a week out from voting day is usually the most accurate, I find, and you can see what it suggests might just happen! Let me add this headline that's pretty self-explanatory to the indications: Everyone's Drawing Huge Crowds in Iowa Except Biden.
Crowd size indicates activist support, and that matters a lot in a caucus state like Iowa, as caucuses are basically votes of activists! I've also been seeing reports that Joe Biden's campaign is less organized on the ground than Hillary Clinton's was and that could translate into lower mobilization on voting day.
There are a lot of indications, in other words, that a Bernie Sanders upset is possible! I mean if he can win in both Iowa AND New Hampshire, I think the perception of Biden as the "most electable candidate" will start to erode, and that argument has been his only real strength in this campaign. (Seriously, the guy can barely form a sentence.) Although Sanders doesn't poll as well among black voters, who are crucial, you could see that start to change as a result of back-to-back early victories like this. Hopefully I'm not being premature again in my optimism this time, but I think an upset is possible! I mean Clinton won Iowa narrowly in 2016. If Biden loses to her main opponent, Sanders, I think that tells you that he is, in fact, a weaker candidate than Clinton, not the stronger one that his supporters insist him to be. Iowa's a Midwestern state. Democrats really want to win in the Midwest this time around. "
Also, something else to look for in this race: turnout levels. Will the turnout levels for the Democratic nominating contest be unusually high, as in higher than they were in 2016? That's an early indication of which way the general election might go. High interest is a good sign. Low interest is a bad sign. Let's pay attention to what those numbers tell us too, not just to who wins.