Politics & Policy

Clinton Campaign: Soaring Iowa Poll Numbers ‘Crazy Wrong’

(Scott Eisen/Getty)

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign is disputing the accuracy of two new bombshell polls that show Clinton crushing the competition in the all-important Iowa caucuses.

“Let the record show, we don’t just complain about public polls that are bad for us,” Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri tweeted late Tuesday afternoon. “These 2 Iowa polls are great for us and crazy wrong.”

A Monmouth University poll conducted after vice president Joe Biden announced his decision not to enter the race — and after Clinton testified in front of the Benghazi Committee — shows the former secretary of state with a commanding lead over Vermont senator Bernie Sanders among Iowa Democratic caucus-goers. Though they were virtually tied five weeks ago, Monmouth now has Clinton towering over Sanders by 41 points. Another poll, released hours later by Loras College, gives her a 38-point lead among Iowa Democrats.

Many Democrats echo Palmieri’s skepticism, pointing to problems with both polls’ methodologies. “The guy who runs the Monmouth poll said he doesn’t expect a lot of new voters, or younger voters, to turn out this time,” says Democratic strategist Bob Shrum. “That would automatically kick out a bunch of people who will at least say they’re going to caucus for Bernie.”

#share#They also say Clinton’s campaign may have insider information that contradicts the latest surge. “They may have their own internal numbers that show something different,” says Democratic strategist Doug Thornell. “You don’t want your expectations to be you’re going to win by 40 points if you think you’re going to win by 15,” adds Shrum.

#related#Even if Tuesday’s polls are accurate, political observers say the Clinton campaign is wise to downplay their impact. “When you’re the frontrunner for your party’s nomination, the worst threat is complacency and a lack of urgency among your supporters,” says Thornell. “I think that they also want to send a message to their supporters in Iowa that, ‘Look, this is still very early on. We’re just heading into November, this race is not over yet.’”

“It’s nothing more than an attempt to manage expectations,” says another Democratic strategist. “The easy thing to do would be to accept them and claim that they show huge momentum as they attempted to scare Sanders out of the race — but that would be a mistake for a lot of different reasons. Not only do polls go up, but they go down as well.”

— Brendan Bordelon is a political reporter for National Review.

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