Bernie Sanders: 'I don't think anybody is going to reach 50%' in Iowa

More than 20 Democrats on ballot

By Eli Watkins, CNN
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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said with the wide field of candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination that he does not expect any of them to break 50% of the vote in Iowa.

"What I think is that four years ago, you know, there were only two of us in the race, and we split the vote about 50% each," Sanders told CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union" Sunday. "This time we've got a whole lot of candidates and I don't think anybody is going to reach 50%."

Sanders' remarks come a day after CNN released a new poll of likely participants in the first-in-the-nation Iowa Democratic caucuses, showing 24% in favor of former Vice President Joe Biden and 16% backing Sanders.

Sanders went on to tell Bash that despite the crowded Democratic field, he was confident in his campaign's approach to Iowa and his own resonance with Iowa voters, nodding to wage stagnation, climate change and wealth distribution. Looking to next year, Sanders said he believed he had an "excellent" chance to win Iowa and said outright that he would win New Hampshire.

"We're not going to get 50% of the vote in Iowa," Sanders said. "I don't think anybody will."

He added, "I think we have a very strong chance of being the candidate who will defeat the worst president in the modern history of this country, Donald Trump."

The latest CNN/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll released Saturday showed Biden leading the roughly two dozen Democratic candidates, with Sanders next up, closely followed by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Sanders on Sunday did not seem worried about Warren and Buttigieg's proximity to his campaign in the poll, stating that no one candidate will capture a majority of the votes in Iowa.

Nearly 20 of the Democratic presidential candidates were slated to speak at an Iowa event Sunday, underscoring the massive size of the field and the level of competition between the candidates well ahead of the caucuses next year.

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