Poll Shows Hillary Clinton Wins Iowans’ Heads, but Not Hearts

Senator Bernie Sanders, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Martin O'Malley during a debate at Drake University in Iowa this month.

By Trip Gabriel – – – –

More than four out of five Iowa Democrats think Hillary Rodham Clinton can win the general election, compared with only half who think the same of Senator Bernie Sanders.

That conviction is helping to drive Mrs. Clinton’s lead in Iowa in a Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday, which is consistent with what other recent state polls have found: While Democrats really like Mr. Sanders on the issues, they are still planning to vote for Mrs. Clinton.

More voters in the new survey said that Mr. Sanders could better handle the economy, voters’ No. 1 issue, and more think he shares their values and cares about people like them.

Nonetheless, Mrs. Clinton, who scored higher on overall leadership, confronting terrorism and foreign policy, outpolled Mr. Sanders 51 percent to 42 percent among likely Democratic caucusgoers. It was a nearly identical margin from the same poll a month ago.

“Sometimes running in place is a good thing,’’ Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll, said in a statement. “The only way Secretary Clinton is going to lose the nomination is a scenario in which she drops the early Iowa and New Hampshire contests to Senator Sanders, who then might become the ‘momentum’ candidate. So she’ll be just fine if she ‘only’ wins by 10 points.’’

There was little good news for former Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland, the third candidate in the race, who was the choice of 4 percent. The poll’s margin of error was plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

The poll was released a day after Quinnipiac’s survey of Iowa Republicans. Together, they showed the partisan polarization of the state’s most stalwart voters, those planning to caucus on Feb. 1.

By 6-1, Democrats said Iowa should welcome Syrian refugees. Republicans opposed welcoming Syrian refugees by 5-1.

Nearly 60 percent of Democrats oppose sending ground troops to fight the Islamic State. Only 22 percent of Republicans are opposed.

Fifteen percent of Democrats named climate change was their No. 1 issue. The percentage of Republicans who said climate change was the top concern: zero.

But on one point, both sides agree: They like the chances of their front-runner beating the other team in the general election. Among Democrats, 85 percent think Mrs. Clinton can beat the Republican nominee, and 70 percent of Republicans think their current front-runner, Donald J. Trump, will defeat a Democrat.

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