Even though he lost in Iowa, here's why Bernie Sanders is winning

Bethan McKernan@mck_beth
Tuesday 02 February 2016 17:00
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(Getty

Left-wing Vermont senator Bernie Sanders narrowly lost the Democrat caucus in Iowa on Monday, losing out to Hillary Clinton by just 0.3 per cent of the vote.

While this means that nothing much changes in the Democrat race for the presidential nomination yet, Sanders - best described as an American Jeremy Corbyn - has done remarkably well to form such a close challenge to former Secretary of State and First Lady Clinton.

In December, Clinton led Sanders by 11 points in one poll. While the candidates drew a virtual tie last night, when it comes to money, Sanders is outperforming Clinton's campaign by miles.

Figures from the candidates' campaign teams from mid-January show that Clinton has raised $112m to Sanders' $72.8m to date - but she spent $74m to Sanders' $44.4m ahead of the Iowa caucuses.

The Democrat caucus is tallied differently to the Republican one, totting up county delegates rather than total votes.

Clinton spent $3.7m on each of the 20 Iowa delegates she won, and Sanders spent $2.2m on each of the delegates he won.

That means Clinton, a political giant, spent $1.67 for every dollar Sanders did, to get an almost identical result:

Statista

Just how remarkable Sanders' campaign has been is even more apparent if we break down where the candidates' campaign dollars come from.

Sanders has raised precisely nothing from Super PACs, political action committees which organise limitless contributions to political campaigns in federal US elections, which most big-hitter candidates rely on.

Graphic: The Independent

That so much of Sanders' funds come from small grassroots donors shows how much he has invigorated the 2016 presidential race: more than 1.3million people have donated to his campaign, breaking the record set by Barack Obama in 2008 at this point in the nomination battle.

While Sanders' rise and rise has been remarkable, Iowa is one of the states he was predicted to do the best in - and he still didn't firmly edge Clinton out.

In addition, political pundits say that unless he can do more to attract people from the Democratic party's large non-white voters base, he is likely to struggle as the race goes on.

More: The real Republican winner in Iowa wasn’t Ted Cruz or Donald Trump

More: 'Sticker kid' stole the show at Hillary Clinton's Iowa speech

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