February 24, 2016
A new national poll from Reuters shows Bernie Sanders leading Hillary Clinton by 6 points among Democrats — his largest lead of the primary so far.
According to the 5-day rolling poll results released on February 23, Sanders has the support of 41.7 percent of voters who identify as Democrat compared to Clinton’s 35.5 percent. The poll sampled 998 voters from across the country who identify as Democrats or as independents who lean towards the Democratic party.
Reuters polls have showed Clinton and Sanders in a virtual dead heat since the beginning of February. Following the Iowa caucus, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed Clinton just two points ahead of Sanders in a national survey with a 5-point margin of error, meaning the poll was effectively a dead heat. A Quinnipiac national poll released on February 17 showed Sanders two points ahead of Clinton, which was also within the margin of error.
The Reuters poll released on January 23, however, showed Clinton was 5 points ahead with self-identifying Democrats. This effectively means an 11-point swing in Sanders’ favor over a one-month period. Sanders is gaining ground on Clinton at roughly the same pace Barack Obama did in 2008,according to RealClearPolitics polling averages. Between February 22 and February 24, 2008, Obama was up just 3 points on Clinton.
This poll comes at a critical time for the Sanders campaign, which is coming off of a 5-point loss in the Nevada caucus and is perceived as the underdog in Saturday’s South Carolina primary. Sanders faces another uphill contest as Super Tuesday looms ahead on March 1. The Vermont senator has been steadily gaining ground in crucial primary states like Georgia and Texas, which award approximately 20 percent of total delegates between the two of them.