Both races for president in the Iowa caucuses are going down to the wire and will likely have photo finishes, according to the latest poll conducted by Monmouth College and radio station KBUR-AM in Burlington, Iowa.
Within hours of its release on Jan. 21, several national news sources were referring to the poll, including CBS News, the Huffington Post and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell. The poll results were also mentioned by Real Clear Politics and Talking Points Memo and, the next day, by the MSNBC show “Morning Joe,” co-hosted by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, and the polling aggregate website, FiveThirtyEight.
On the Republican side, Sen. Ted Cruz has a narrow 27 to 25 percent lead over businessman Donald Trump, while three candidates are battling for third place – retired surgeon Ben Carson (11 percent), Sen. Marco Rubio (9) and former governor Jeb Bush (7).
Five candidates are bunched together, with Gov. Chris Christie and former governor Mike Huckabee at 4 percent and Sen. Rand Paul, Gov. John Kasich and businesswoman Carly Fiorina at 3. Former senator Rick Santorum and former governor Jim Gilmore are each at 1 percent.
Other key takeaways from the Republican poll:
- Cruz and Trump are tied among men at 24 percent and Cruz leads Trump among women 30 to 27 percent.
- By age, Trump leads among Iowa Republicans 25-34 and 55-64 while Cruz leads in all other age categories.
- Cruz is leading Trump 31 to 29 percent in the KBUR listening area in southeast Iowa.
“The Republican race at the top is skintight and could be a repeat of the extremely close results four years ago,” according to Monmouth College political science lecturer Robin Johnson, who hosts “Talking Politics” on KBUR. “The battle for third place is also very important among three candidates who are tightly bunched at this point and seeking to have their ticket punched to New Hampshire.”
On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton maintains a lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders, although the margin has tightened since the first Monmouth-KBUR poll conducted last summer. She leads Sanders 48 to 39 percent in the current poll, which has steadily diminished from a 63 to 20 lead in June and a 46 to 32 lead in October. Former governor Martin O’Malley has 7 percent of the vote, a slight increase from 5 percent support in both June and October.
“There’s no question Sanders has gained momentum and has steadily gained on Clinton,” Johnson said. “The key question is whether that momentum continues and is able to put him over the top come caucus day (on Feb. 1).”
Other key takeaways from the Democratic poll:
- Clinton leads among women 59 to 33 percent while Sanders leads among men 47 to 34 percent.
- By age, Sanders leads among voters younger than 35 while Clinton leads among voters older than 45. The 35-44 age group is close, with Clinton holding a slight 47 to 44 percent lead.
- Clinton leads 49 to 41 percent in the KBUR listening region and in six of the nine regions of the state.
The poll was conducted Jan. 18-19 among 687 likely voting Iowa Republicans and 570 likely voting Democrats through live and automated calls by Douglas Fulmer and Associates. The margin of error for the Republican poll is +- 3.7 % and 4.1% for the Democratic poll.