An NBC News/Marist Iowa Poll out this morning shows Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders just 3% behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; within the poll's margin of error. This is the first Iowa poll of 2016 and comes just three weeks prior to the state's February 1 caucuses. Clinton remains well ahead in our Iowa poll average, so it remains to be seen if this latest poll is an outlier or a shift toward Sanders.
O'Malley to miss next debate?
The next Democratic debate, hosted by NBC, is scheduled for next Sunday, January 17 at 9PM ET in Charleston, South Carolina. To qualify, candidates must reach 5% nationally or in one of the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina in the five most recent polls recognized by NBC as of January 14th. CNN reports O'Malley is at exactly 5% in Iowa but missing the mark in the other states and nationally. (We show O'Malley averaging 6.4% in Iowa; NBC doesn't use Gravis Marketing polls in its average).
Working in O'Malley's favor: he averaged 5% in today's NBC Iowa poll (out after the CNN article) and the fact that the network has indicated they will round up from 4.5%. It's not like the Democratic debate stage is crowded; we suspect he'll be included.
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