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First-time caucus goers critical for Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders is leading three points over Hillary Clinton ahead of the Iowa caucuses
Bernie Sanders is leading three points over H... 05:59

First-time voters in Iowa are a critical voting bloc that could benefit Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders at Monday night's caucuses in Iowa, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released just hours before voting begins.

On the Republican side, the poll found Trump has a 7-percentage-point lead over Sen. Ted Cruz with 31 percent backing the billionaire and 24 percent said they support the Texas senator.

Bernie Sanders is optimistic that he'll take ... 00:51

Seventeen percent said they would support Sen. Marco Rubio, 8 percent said they would back Ben Carson and no other GOP candidate received support above 4 percent.

On the Democratic side, 49 percent said they back Sanders and 46 percent said they support Hillary Clinton. Three percent said they'd back former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley.

The survey found that among first-time GOP voters, Trump leads Cruz 40 to 22 percent. Among first-time Democratic voters, Sanders tops Clinton 62 to 35 percent, but among Democrats who previously attended the caucuses, Clinton leads Sanders 52 to 41 percent.

Forty-four percent of Republicans and 38 percent of Democrats said this is their first caucus.

The Iowa caucuses are hours away and the race... 05:02

Among likely GOP caucus goers, 3 percent said they remain undecided and 28 percent who named a candidate said they could still change their mind. Among likely Democratic caucus goers, 2 percent said they remain undecided and 14 percent who said they had a preferred candidate said they could also change their mind.

The survey, conducted January 25 to 31, polled 890 likely GOP caucus goers in Iowa with a 3.3 percentage point margin of error and 919 likely Democratic caucus goers with a 3.2 percentage point margin of error.

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