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4 things to watch for in the Democrats' debate

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Bernie Sanders of Vermont and failing to undercut his archliberal message before it grew into a political movement that has put him within striking distance of beating Hillary Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire.

The poll, conducted January 7 to 13, found that 12 percent of Americans are more likely to vote for Hillary, the former secretary of state, because of her marriage to Bill.

The Clintons are particularly concerned that her "rational message", in the words of an aide, is not a fit with a restless Democratic primary electorate.

The Sanders campaign had raised more than $3 million since Tuesday, when Clinton ratcheted up her health care critique. While Clinton has stopped short of calling for government backdoors into tech companies's user data, she has repeatedly urged Silicon Valley to work with government to fight terrorism online. The Clinton camp sold Sanders' emotional battle cry short and is now worrying, reports the New York Times, that the oldest rock star in the U.S. election race may hammer away at Clinton's base among minorities, blacks and young women too.

As 2015 turns into 2016, the Democratic Primary field has three competitors: former Secretary of State President Clinton, the uncombed Senator Bernie Sanders, and that other guy whose name I always forget. "And I want to admit it". Sanders' announcement that he backs the bill comes just before he is set to meet Clinton and Martin O'Malley Sunday night in the last Democratic debate before the Iowa caucus.

The most recent SC poll in mid December by CBS News/YouGov gave Clinton a 36-point lead over Sanders, but that was before his latest surge in support and fundraising.

One thing that hampers Clinton at this point is the lack of excitement for her candidacy, even among Democrats who actually support her. For whatever reason, she has yet to build the kind of broader enthusiasm. She had to remind Fallon that O'Malley is still in the race.

It wasn't that long ago that Clinton backed a a universal health care plan similar to the one Sanders supports now. His vote for the law, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, has been a sore spot for gun control activists and a gift to Clinton, who this week called him "a pretty reliable vote for the gun lobby". After Iowa and New Hampshire - two overwhelmingly white states - Sanders faces an electorate that is much more diverse and not as familiar with Sanders, especially in the South, which at the moment is Clinton Country.

"I always say, 'If I've got an opponent that's breathing, I'm going to take that opponent very seriously, ' " said Rep. James Clyburn, of SC, who was expecting to host Hillary Clinton and Sanders on Saturday night at his famed fish fry.

Meanwhile, Clinton's commanding lead in Iowa is dwindling and the two rivals are locked in a tight race in the Hawkeye State. "All of this is happening because people are on edge, they're uncertain". And in New Hampshire, Sanders-a longtime senator from next-door Vermont-leads Clinton by six points. "We're fighting on who would make a better President, not on who has a better Physical Fitness Test". "I came here to tell people why I thought Hillary should be president and her ideas are better". South Carolina, fourth in line with its primary contest, is seen as a possible firewall for the Clinton campaign because of its strength among minority voters, who make up a sizable portion of the electorate in the state.

"This is a real challenge for Hillary Clinton", said Democratic pollster Peter Hart.

And while she is known for connecting well with people in small settings, she has not shown the same winning touch as consistently at rallies or in television interviews, they said.

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