Trailing Bernie: Sanders takes a lead in Iowa

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A new Iowa poll has brought more good news to the Bernie Sanders campaign, showing him leading Hillary Clinton for the first time.

In the Quinnipiac poll released Thursday, Sanders tallied 41 percent support among likely Democratic caucus-goers. Clinton, the former first lady, secretary of state and New York senator, had 40 percent. The poll marks the first time that Sanders, the 74-year-old Vermont senator, has more support than Clinton in the Hawkeye State.

Vice President Joe Biden, who is considering jumping into the Democratic Party primary for president, had 12 percent.

In a July Quinnipiac poll, Clinton was ahead of Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, by a 52 percent to 33 percent margin.

“Sen. Bernie Sanders has become the Eugene McCarthy of 2016,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a release. “He is the candidate of the Democratic left, against his own party’s bosses and their prized presidential candidate, Secretary Hillary Clinton.”

Brown said “Sanders has seized the momentum by offering a message more in line with disproportionately liberal primary and caucus voters.” But, unlike McCarthy in 1968, Sanders has taken a lead far ahead of the February 2016 caucus.

“History will eventually tell us whether he has made such a large move too soon,” Brown said.

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Bloomberg reported Thursday that the Sanders campaign has begun planning its strategy to collect delegates and continue battling Clinton through the long primary process. Part of the plan depends on success in the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire, campaign advisor Tad Devine told Bloomberg.

“If we can succeed in New Hampshire, and I think all the polls would suggest right now that we’re on a very successful course there, we can come out of there with tremendous momentum, and I think that, more than any other single other factor, is going to affect what happens,” he said.

Faring well in the next wave of states will help Sanders acquire coveted nominating delegates, Devine said.

“[I]f we can stay close to her, we will win almost as many delegates, even if she wins a few more votes in some of these states,” he told Bloomberg. “I think it’s a winning strategy, and I think we can pull it off.”

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Sanders will travel to Virginia Monday where he will speak at Liberty University in Lynchburg. The choice to speak at the generally conservative, Christian university may seem odd for many Sanders supporters. It is, after all, where Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the Republican presidential candidate, kicked off his own White House bid.

Sanders told the Washington Post last month that he hopes his visit to Liberty can help “reach consensus regarding the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality in our country, about the collapse of the middle class, about the high level of childhood poverty, about climate change and other issues.”

Sanders is less hopeful about other issues.

“It goes without saying that my views on many issues — women’s rights, gay rights, education and many other issues — are very different from the opinions of some in the Liberty University community,” Sanders told the Post.

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Many New York Times readers who support Sanders have been complained to the Times about its coverage of the campaign. In a column published Wednesday, Times public editor Margaret Sullivan revealed the results of her review of Sanders’ coverage in the paper.

“Here’s my take: The Times has not ignored Mr. Sanders’s campaign by any means, but it also hasn’t always taken it very seriously,” she wrote. “The tone of some stories does seem regrettably dismissive, even mocking at times. Some of it is focused on the candidate’s age, appearance and style rather than what he has to say.”

In August, the Times published 14 articles about Sanders compared to 54 on Clinton. Republican frontrunner Donald Trump received the most coverage — 63 articles. Sullivan had little explanation for the “Trump factor.”

“While it’s certainly realistic, and reflective of reasonable news judgment, to give Mr. Sanders significantly less coverage than Mrs. Clinton, that’s not happening with another presidential long shot – Donald Trump – whose every utterance and dust-up seems to be breathlessly chronicled,” she wrote.

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