For an election that has been anything but conventional, the latest Marist/NBC polling out of Iowa finds things lining up in familiar ways. For Trump or Sanders to win they need new, non-traditional caucus goers to show up and vote. That is how Obama won in 2008 and why Howard Dean did not in 2004. Meanwhile, Marist shows a New Hampshire that is behaving somewhat traditionally on the Democratic side, but not as it normally does on the GOP side. When all is said and done, however, the two states may not pick the winners, but they will definitely help clear up some of the key outstanding questions of 2016: namely just how well can outsider candidates turn enthusiasm into votes. For all the handwringing and head scratching about a tightening Democratic contest in Iowa, there is really nothing particularly new or surprising about it. Bernie Sanders fits the mold of the many ‘disruptive’ or anti-establishment Democratic candidates who have come before him. His support comes from non-traditional voters who are voting on enthusiasm rather than habit. Among those who
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