False
Sanders
"Almost all of the polls that have come out suggest that I am a much stronger candidate against the Republicans than is Hillary Clinton."

Bernie Sanders on Tuesday, January 19th, 2016 in a town hall meeting in Underwood, Iowa.

Bernie Sanders says he polls better against GOP candidates than Hillary Clinton

Bernie Sanders says that if he does well in Iowa and New Hampshire, "We are looking at one of the great political upsets in the modern history of the United States of America."

In the runup to the Iowa caucus, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has repeatedly said he has a better chance of beating the eventual Republican nominee in the Nov. 8 general election than fellow Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

"Almost all of the polls that -- and polls are polls, they go up, they go down -- but almost all of the polls that have come out suggest that I am a much stronger candidate against the Republicans than is Hillary Clinton," he told voters during a Jan. 19 town hall meeting in Underwood, Iowa.

We took a look at the various national surveys, as compiled by RealClearPolitics and PollingReport.com to see how that assertion stacks up against the data.

The only recent national poll to look at the question at the time Sanders made his comment was completed Jan. 13 for NBC News and the Wall Street Journal. If Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, it found, Sanders beats Trump by 15 percentage points compared to a 10-point win for Clinton.

That certainly supports Sanders' claim, but that poll didn't compare him to any other GOP candidates.

To find another poll to properly compare Clinton's and Sanders' relative strengths, you have to go back to a Quinnipiac Poll completed Dec. 20. There, Sanders beats Trump by 13 points while Clinton defeats him by 7 points.

However, in a matchup against Republican Marco Rubio, Sanders loses by three points and Clinton wins by just a single point. Against Ted Cruz, Sanders loses by a point and Clinton ties Cruz at 44 percent each. So Clinton is performing slightly better, but these results are largely within the margin of error of +/- 2.9 points.

A third poll, taken during the same timeframe as Quinnipiac by Public Policy Polling, found that Sanders would lose to Trump (by two points), Rubio (by three points), Cruz (by one point) and Jeb Bush (by one point).

Clinton, in contrast, would beat Bush (by five points), Trump (by three points) and Cruz (two points), but lose to Rubio (by one point). Both Democrats would tie with Republican Ben Carson. The margin of error was +/- 2.8 percentage points.

So the Public Policy Polling survey doesn't support Sanders either. (You can see a chart of the varying matchups and point differences at the end of this fact-check.)

When we asked the Sanders campaign about the claim, they submitted a consultant's memo from Jan. 8, 2016, that focuses on the Quinnipiac study and two other polls, a CNN/ORC International Poll from Dec. 17-21 and an Economist/YouGov poll from Dec. 18-21.

Neither the CNN/ORC survey nor the Economist/YouGov poll test Sanders in a general election against a Republican.

Instead, the memo argues that Sanders, if nominated, is more likely to win in November because he polls better than Clinton among independent voters, he's "viewed more favorably than any other presidential candidate of either party," and Clinton's support is slipping against the Republicans.

(For the record, the Economist/YouGov poll found that Clinton's favorability score was just as high as Sanders, with both at 44 percent. Of the 2,000 respondents, 39 percent were not registered to vote.)

Whether high favorability ratings directly translate into votes in a general election is an open question.

Our ruling

Sanders said, "Almost all of the polls that have come out suggest that I am a much stronger candidate against the Republicans than is Hillary Clinton."

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal national poll released before Sanders' statement supports his claim for Trump, but it has no data against Cruz or Rubio. Earlier polls say he doesn't outperform Clinton at all against Cruz, Rubio or Bush, and the narrow races combined with the margins of error make his contention even more dubious.

Beating Clinton in only two of eight hypothetical matchups is far from "almost all."

The statement is not accurate, so we rate it False.

Poll

GOP opponent

Who ranks higher

Point advantage

NBC / WSJ

Trump

Sanders

5

Quinnipiac

Trump

Sanders

6

Quinnipiac

Cruz

Clinton

1

Quinnipiac

Rubio

Clinton

4

PPP

Trump

Clinton

5

PPP

Cruz

Clinton

3

PPP

Rubio

Clinton

2

PPP

Bush

Clinton

6