Two new political surveys in the U.S. show that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has moved ahead of the presumed 2016 Democratic presidential frontrunner, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in both of the states where voting is set to start next month.
Sanders, who describes himself as an independent socialist Democrat, is edging Clinton in Iowa, a middle-of-the-country farm state, by 49 to 44 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll of Iowa Democrats released Tuesday.
Iowa voters — both Democratic and Republican — are holding party presidential caucuses February 1, the start of the lengthy state-by-state contests to pick party nominees for November's national election.
In New Hampshire, a rural state in the northeastern U.S. where party primary elections are scheduled February 9, the latest Monmouth University poll showed Sanders soaring to a 53 to 39 percent advantage over Clinton.
Clinton changes strategy
National polls have shown Clinton, the country's top diplomat during President Barack Obama's first term from 2009 to 2013, with a commanding lead over Sanders. But the poll results in the two states with the first voting prompted Sanders to claim that Clinton's campaign is in "serious trouble."
For months, Clinton has been loathe to attack Sanders, figuring that she will need the votes of his supporters in November if she is the Democratic nominee.
But at recent rallies in Iowa, she attacked him as a less forceful advocate for gun control than she is and derided his call for a government-controlled health care system in the U.S.
The November election will pick the country's 45th president, to succeed Obama as he leaves office a year from now.