[A]lthough exact figures weren’t available Monday night, staff at [the venue] estimated that the crowd could have exceeded 8,000 in the roughly 9,000-capacity arena for an event originally planned as more of a town hall-style forum than a rally. Organizers delayed the start of the 7 p.m. event because so many people were still lined up down the block outside the arena.
Those crowds, according to the New York Times, "are setting off worry among advisers and allies of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who believe the Vermont senator could overtake her in Iowa polls by the fall and even defeat her in the nation’s first nominating contest there."
After ignoring the Vermonter for the first few months of the campaign, Clinton's advisers have clearly taken to lowering expectations for their candidate in Iowa and New Hampshire — and raising them for Sanders.
"We're worried about him, sure. He's a force. You know, he'll be a serious force through the campaign. I don't think that will, you know, diminish," Clinton communications director Jennifer Pamieri said Monday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "It's to be expected that Sanders would do well in a Democratic primary, and he's going to do well in Iowa in the Democratic caucus."