|Reuters/Ipsos national tracking poll (11/12-1/12, registered voters)|
In fact, I thought Sanders' staff getting caught red-handed stealing voter data from the Clinton camp, followed by a lawsuit against the party, would most likely hurt Bernie's chances. But right now, polls say that Democrats in those two states seem to be perfectly fine with that sort of behavior. Similarly, when it was announced at the new year that Hillary raised $18 million for the party while Bernie raised nothing, I figured it could only help her in those early-voting states that should be paying close attention right now. Hah! Silly me...wrong again.
However, there's another possibility: Maybe, despite a brief flurry of polls that suggest otherwise, the big-picture fundamentals of the race haven't suddenly and mysteriously changed over the past few days. The picture isn't even unanimous, with PPP showing Hillary leading Bernie in New Hampshire 47%-44%, gaining a point since their last poll. Like everyone else though, I'm just looking forward to more info over the next week or two that will hopefully clarify the situation.
But whatever is happening in those two states, it doesn't appear to be replicated on the national level. The only poll to show a close race recently is IBD/TIPP...and the rest haven't budged much. And take a look at the chart above, which shows the Democratic race over the past two months according to the Reuters/Ipsos national tracking poll. I've set the filter to "registered Democrats" where the margin is currently Clinton 60% - Sanders 32%. This is basically a middle ground between the "all Democrats" filter (where Clinton leads by 19) and the "registered Democrats likely to vote" filter (where Clinton leads by 33).
As you can see, there's not much of a Bernie new year's spike to be found here. Actually, according to this chart, Clinton has gained eight points just in the last three days. I don't necessarily believe that either, but that's what it says. What's really interesting and crucial is the overall pattern of stability. Yes, there are certainly spikes and dips all over the place...but the fundamentals have barely budged in two months.
So I'm doubtful of a seismic shift in Iowa and New Hampshire...but we'll find out soon enough if it's just polling anomalies or if Democrats are actually starting to change their minds about who should be the nominee.