A late-summer poll shows that the Vermont senator is gaining fast on Clinton in Iowa, and Sanders enthusiasts see evidence that he has appeal “beyond the liberal coasts and union strongholds,” according to Dan Roberts, the Washington bureau chief of The Guardian.

The poll, conducted by The Des Moines Register, showed Sanders moving to within 7 percentage points of the former secretary of state — 30 percent to her 37 percent. These are tight numbers five months before voters nominate a candidate in the Iowa caucus Feb. 1.

“[I]t is fair to say [Sanders’] success so far was not in the Democratic party script,” Roberts wrote. His views “go down surprisingly well with middle Americans, many of whom feel so badly left behind by the current economic recovery that only bold steps will do.”

He continued:

“More and more people are waking up to the fact that middle-class people are really struggling,” says Tom Gross, a 58-year-old former power plant worker from nearby Amana who travelled to the Grinnell rally. “This is the middle of the country, you’d think it would be hardcore conservative, but he’s turning out the people.”

His partner, Carmen Grimm, a 57-year-old pharmacy technician, also sums up the Sanders appeal to millennials and their parents.

“I have two sons and part of what Bernie speaks to me about is how concerned I am about their ability in today’s economy to pay off their student loans,” she says. “How they will ever – not even really get ahead – but just do a little more than stay afloat.” …

“Bernie is Bernie, he’s down to earth and he’s not for special interests,” explains Chris Uhlenhopp, a 67-year-old former labourer at the nearby Maytag appliances factory, which once employed 2,000 people. “I won’t go from Bernie to Hillary,” he adds. “I’d stay in bed if we had Hillary [on general election day].”

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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