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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 30, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 44
Clinton on a roll after strong debate, hearing performances
Section One
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Clinton on a roll after strong debate, hearing performances

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has been on a roll since her strong debate performance on October 13, and she picked up even more momentum after staring down Republican congressmen in new hearings on Benghazi.

According to a new Monmouth University poll in Iowa released October 27, Clinton now enjoys a 41-point lead over her main challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Sixty-five percent of likely Iowa Democratic caucus-goers said they favored Clinton, while only 24% supported Sanders. Previous polls had Clinton ahead, but just barely. The RealClearPolitics average of national polls shows Clinton with a seven-point lead over Sanders in Iowa.

The October 27 poll was the first Monmouth survey since the Benghazi hearing, where Clinton maintained her dignity during 11 hours of apparently pointless grilling by her Republican antagonists, and also the first since Vice President Joe Biden announced he would not be a candidate for the nomination.

Candidates Lincoln Chaffee and Jim Webb have also withdrawn from the field, leaving only Martin O'Malley to compete with Clinton and Sanders. O'Malley drew only 7% support in the Monmouth poll.

'We now have a two-person race, but one of those competitors has just pulled very far ahead,' said Monmouth pollster Patrick Murray.

Clinton leads Sanders in every demographic: men, women, very liberal Democrats, somewhat liberal Democrats, and self-described moderate voters.

Her biggest lead is among women, with a 73-16% advantage over Sanders.

Both candidates have strong favorability ratings, with Clinton coming in at 88% positive and 8% negative. Seventy-seven percent saying they view Sanders positively, against 11% who view him negatively.

Clinton's support is also firmer than Sanders'. About half of Clinton's supporters say they've made up their minds and are sticking with her, while only 27% of Sanders' supporters say the same thing about him.

Forty percent of likely Democratic caucus-goers said they've settled on their final decision and are unlikely to change their minds. Thirty-seven percent said they're close to settled, but are still open to changing their minds.

Clinton is also rolling up key labor union endorsements. On October 26, AFSCME, the largest union of government employees in the country, endorsed her after a meeting of its executive board.

'The next president will make decisions that could make or break the ability of working people across America to sustain their families. That's why we spent the last six months engaged in the most member-focused, in-depth, and transparent endorsement process AFSCME has ever undertaken,' said AFSCME President Lee Saunders.

'Members want a candidate who will make it easier instead of harder to join together in strong unions and stand together for wages and benefits that can sustain our families,' he said.

'What we also heard was AFSCME members want the candidate who will be the most effective champion for working families, and who will be able to deliver a victory in this critically important election. AFSCME members believe that candidate is Hillary Clinton.'

Saunders said that polling showed about half of his 1.6 million members favored Clinton over Sanders. Clinton had previously been endorsed by the American Federation of Teachers and the Painters and Allied Trades unions. While these national endorsements do not mean that union locals are compelled to endorse Clinton, they do come with organization and money, which will help Clinton build momentum for what could be a long primary season. The Sanders campaign brushed off the endorsement. 'Bernie is proud to have the grassroots support of tens of thousands of working families in AFSCME and other unions,' Sanders' spokesman Michael Briggs said.

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