From USA Today:
Iowa and New Hampshire voters, prepare to hear even more from Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The underdog candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, armed with more than $30 million, has hired a pollster and plans to begin running ads in the two states early next month.
After proving he can draw crowds in the thousands, Sanders is moving toward the “persuasion” phase of his candidacy.
He’ll hold smaller events in the two early voting states, in addition to his mega-rallies, so he can take questions from undecided voters, according to Tad Devine, Sanders’ senior media strategist.
Vice President Biden’s decision to opt out of the 2016 campaign helps solidify Sanders’ position as the Democratic Party’s alternative to front-runner Hillary Clinton. But Devine said that doesn’t impact Sanders’ strategy.
“From the beginning, this campaign really has not been about opponents, it’s been about Bernie and his message,” Devine said. “We’re not going to deviate from that strategic course.”
It’s unclear how a Biden bid would have affected Sanders’ chances, but national polls suggest the vice president’s absence from the race could make Sanders’ already difficult path toward the nomination even more challenging. Four polls taken since the first Democratic presidential debate on Oct. 13 showed Clinton’s lead over Sanders jumped from an average of 23.5 percentage points to an average of 30 when Biden was excluded as an option.
“Now she is the formidable front-runner again,” Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute in New Jersey, said of Clinton. “It doesn’t look like (Sanders) can make this up. Even if he pulls off a win in New Hampshire, the problem is he doesn’t have the blue-collar vote, he doesn’t have the Latino or African-American vote. When we get to Super Tuesday, those groups are going to dominate.”