The writer of this article, David A. Graham of The Atlantic, presented several excellent theories on why the race is getting closer between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. While I believe the race may be tighter, most of us at the Dogon Village don’t put much faith in polls these days.
By David A. Graham, The Atlantic -A funny thing happened between mid-December and now. When everyone went into holiday slumber, Hillary Clinton was sailing high; Bernie Sanders, after shocking most observers with his impressive popularity, seemed to have plateaued around 30 percent. Now, in the homestretch as the Iowa caucuses (February 1) and New Hampshire primary (February 9) draw closer, the race is getting tighter.
As I wrote yesterday, Sanders has begun making an argument that he is the more electable candidate in the race, a surprising turn. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed him closing the gap in Iowa to three points and leading in New Hampshire. Two new polls on Tuesday bring more welcome news for the Sanders campaign. Monmouth University finds him opening up a whopping 14 point lead in New Hampshire. A Quinnipiac poll shows Sanders up five points among likely caucusgoers in Iowa, his first lead in months. And a CBS/New York Times poll shows her national lead dropping from 20 to 7. Nationally, Clinton retains a solid lead, but not nearly as large as a few weeks ago.
Momentum swings and lead changes are nothing new in a presidential race, but usually there’s a reason for them. Sometimes those reasons are clearer: Ben Carson’s numbers have softened after a series of verbal gaffes and campaign turmoil. Other times they’re somewhat more oblique, like Carly Fiorina’s tumble in the polls after she proved unable to attract attention when not on a debate stage. But there’s been no obvious turning point that’s led to the convergence in the Democratic race. There have been no additional Democratic debates. Clinton hasn’t committed any obviously huge errors. Sanders hasn’t significantly changed his style or positions on the trail.
David A. Graham is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he covers U.S. politics and global news.
Graham previously edited The Atlantic’s politics section and has reported for Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and The National. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.