When Bernie Sanders had a heart attack in October, whispers started that it was the beginning of the end of the Vermont senator's campaign for the Oval Office. Tell that to the people of Iowa, where Sanders, for the first time, took the lead there among all Democratic candidates in what the New York Times calls a "highly anticipated" poll out of the Hawkeye State, noting that even that descriptor is an understatement. In the Des Moines Register/CNN survey of Democratic caucusgoers held Jan. 2 through Jan. 8, Sanders pulled 20%, followed by Elizabeth Warren at 17%, Pete Buttigieg at 16%, and Joe Biden at 15%, with a 3.7% margin of error. Seeing the greatest setback from the last Register poll was Buttigieg, who'd led the pack with 25%; Warren and Biden had 16% and 15% then, respectively.
The Times notes the latest results show it's anyone's game heading into the Feb. 3 caucuses in the state. CNN also notes Sanders' fourth-quarter fundraising haul of $34.5 million, which blew all of the other candidates' intake away. Sanders' unexpected momentum has certainly caught everyone's attention, with even President Trump's campaign turning its eye specifically toward the senator instead of the Dems in general or Joe Biden: On Wednesday, Trump's team sent out an email to reporters saying Sanders "cannot be trusted to protect American lives" based on his response to the death of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani. One strategist, however, isn't surprised at the Sanders surge, noting he's been consistent in his messaging. "He's in the position he is because everybody knows what he says is what he believes, because he's been saying it for decades," she notes. (Read more Bernie Sanders stories.)