Obama redux: Sanders camp touts Bernie as best chance to win in November

bernie sandersThe Bernie Sanders campaign sent a memo to reporters on Saturday to push the message that the Vermont senator gives Democrats the best chance to win in November.

Sanders, according to a memo by Sanders’ pollster Ben Tulchin. “runs markedly better than Clinton” against Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

This is something worth looking at, certainly. The most recent national polling, released this week, comes from the fair and balanced folks over at Fox News, which has Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton trailing Trump, Cruz and Marco Rubio by margins of three to nine points, with Rubio holding the biggest advantage over her of the three.

It’s worth noting that the pollster didn’t even gauge how Sanders would run against the Republican field.

Quinnipiac was the last pollster to test both Clinton and Sanders against the Republican field. Numbers released on Dec. 22 had Clinton up seven on Trump and in statistical ties with Cruz and Rubio, and Sanders up 13 on Trump, trailing Cruz by one and trailing Rubio by three.

So, “markedly better” across the board, eh, maybe not, but arguably no worse than “just as good.”

“The main factor responsible for Sanders’ superior performance against Trump is that the senator from Vermont performs much better with independents,” according to Tulchin.

The Quinnipiac University poll found Sanders beating Trump by 14 points with independents, while Clinton beat Trump by only 2 points with independents, a critical bloc in general elections.

The Tulchin memo touts as Sanders’ key strength his favorable reputation among voters.

“Sanders enjoys the most positive profile of any 2016 contender and would begin a fall campaign with room to grow,” according to Tulchin, his memo citing a new Field Poll in California which found Sanders’ favorability was greater than Clinton’s by a margin of 15 points.

The memo kneecaps Clinton by throwing shade at her perceived honesty, pointing to how the December Quinnipiac poll found Trump was distrusted by 58 percent of voters, while 59 percent distrusted Clinton, and a December Economist/YouGov poll that found Trump distrusted by 50 percent of voters and 52 percent distrusted Clinton.

Young voters remain a key to Sanders’ strength. Notably, Tulchin wrote, Quinnipiac found that voters under age 35 view Sanders favorably by a 44-point margin (58 percent favorable to 14 percent unfavorable) while CNN found he was viewed favorably by voters in that age group by a 32-point margin (55 percent favorable to 23 percent unfavorable).

Also worth noting is that the new Fox News poll has Sanders ahead of Clinton 50 percent to 37 percent among New Hampshire Democratic primary voters. Sanders lengthened his lead since November, when he was up by one point (45 percent to 44 percent).

Sanders outpolled Clinton in head-to-head matchups against the leading Republican candidates in another new poll in New Hampshire released on Friday by Public Policy Polling. Sanders averaged nine points better than Clinton in the general election match ups. He defeated Trump by 20 points.

– Story by Chris Graham


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