Last Thursday’s CNN Iowa poll showing Donald Trump up 11 points and Bernie Sanders up 8 points seemed too shocking to believe, but CBS/YouGov polling released today appears to at least somewhat validate those findings. According to CBS’s numbers, Trump leads Ted Cruz in Iowa by 5 points while Sanders and Hillary Clinton are in a statistical dead heat, with only one point separating the two. This means that both races seem to be going down to the wire with only a week to go until the Iowa Caucus.
Of course, the usual caveat applies: much could still change between now and then. On the Republican side, while 78 percent describe their support of a candidate as “strong” or “very strong,” 22 percent say their support is only “somewhat strong,” meaning a good portion of the electorate could still be swayed. And there is a much better chance of those undecideds being picked up by Cruz or Marco Rubio than Trump: 67 and 64 percent of Republicans say they would be open to considering Cruz and Rubio, respectively, as an alternate candidate, while only 37 percent say the same about Trump.
Unfortunately, none of these questions appear to have been asked of the Democrat electorate, so it is more difficult to determine how fluid Democrat voters might be in this week leading up to the caucuses. However, given how quickly Sanders has closed the gap in Iowa, it seems safe to say that this could also be anyone’s ballgame.
If Trump and/or Sanders can depart Iowa with a victory, CBS shows that they would have a clear advantage in New Hampshire. Trump has a healthy 18 point lead over Cruz in the Granite State, while Sanders leads Clinton by 19.
Could we be heading toward a Trump-Sanders general election match-up? The odds certainly look better now than they have at any other point this election cycle.
Paul Dupont is the managing editor for ThePulse2016.com.