Hillary Clinton greets supporters during a campaign stop at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Tuesday.
Bernie Sanders has pulled into a statistical dead heat with 2016 Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in the critical early-voting state of Iowa, a new poll released Sunday showed.
With only three weeks to go before the Hawkeye State’s first in-the-nation caucuses, Clinton leads the surging Vermont senator 48% to 45%, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll — within the survey’s 4.8 percentage-point margin-of-error.
The results indicate that the Iowa race could shape up to be much closer than experts had anticipated. A slew of recent polls had put Clinton up over Sanders, on average 49% to 39%, according to an aggregation of the surveys by RealClearPolitics.
New Hampshire, by contrast, has long been expected to be a competitive race between the pair of pols, with Sanders consistently beating the former secretary of state in several recent polls.
The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey showed Sanders beating Clinton 50% to 46% in the Granite State, whose first-in-the-nation primary comes just days after the Iowa caucuses.
Just hours after release of the new poll, Sanders and Clinton exchanged fire during competing appearances on Sunday morning political shows, with the former first lady blasting the Vermont senator’s record on guns.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday.
“I think he has been consistently confusing to say that he would vote to repeal this absolute immunity from any kind of responsibility or liability,” Clinton said on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” noting that Sanders supported legislation backed by the NRA, that protected gun makers from liability after shootings, while she opposed it.
Sanders, meanwhile, defended his record, saying the issue in the particular bill was “complicated” but said he was open to revisiting the topic.
“If you have a manufacturer that is sending guns into an area and really knows that those guns are not being used or bought by the people in that area … should we hold that manufacturer liable? Absolutely,” he said.
The tense back-and-forth came as news emerged that former Arizona congresswoman and gun-control reform champion Gabby Giffords would endorse Clinton.
Giffords, who has become an outspoken advocate for gun control after she was shot in the brain in 2011, will back the former secretary of state for the 2016 Democratic nomination, Politico reported, citing people familiar with the matter.