Sanders stands alone at 28% — almost double the support of his next closest challengers: former Vice President Joe Biden (16%), former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (15%) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (13%). Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is at 10% and Minnesota’s Sen. Amy Klobuchar is at 7%.
(NOTE: The poll of polls includes an average of the five most recent nonpartisan, live operator, national surveys on the race for the Democratic presidential nomination conducted among registered voters who consider themselves either Democrats, Democratic-leaning independents or likely Democratic voters. The surveys were conducted after voting in the Iowa caucuses began on February 3.)
Now, any smart political strategist will tell you that national polls aren’t the best indicator of where a race is headed — particularly after people in key early states start voting. Which they have!
But the results in Iowa and New Hampshire only lend more credibility to Sanders’ status as a clear first among sort-of equals. He led the Iowa popular vote while apparently losing the delegate count by a fingernail. He won the New Hampshire primary. And polling in the lead-up to Saturday’s Nevada caucuses suggests he’s the likely winner there too.
None of that means Sanders is on the verge of walking away with this thing. He isn’t — and major pockets of resistance within the party establishment and the pragmatic center still exist.
What it does mean, however, is that Sanders is very well-positioned to be one of the last candidates standing — assuming that the pragmatists eventually rally around a single person.
That process has yet to begin in earnest — even as Sanders continues to build momentum with his strong showings in early states and demonstrated fundraising prowess.
He is unmatched in his positioning in the race. It’s hard to see Sanders not facing a serious challenge at some point between now and the party convention this summer, but for the moment, he is sitting very pretty.
The Point: Sanders wouldn’t trade places with anyone else in the race at the moment. And every single one of them would trade places with him.