Bernie Sanders–without either Iowa or New Hampshire doors closed?
[Future Hope Column: Elections 2016]
Those Bernie supporters who saw media reports yesterday of the latest national Presidential poll by Quinnipiac couldn’t feel too good about the results. Quinnipiac had Hillary ahead by 30 percentage points, 60-30. News stories I saw also said that the poll reported that more Hillary supporters than Bernie supporters were firm in their choice, not open to changing it.
Other polls over the last couple of weeks have been similar, though closer. ABC/Washington Post had it 60-34 for Hillary on November 22. Also on the 22nd Fox had it 55-32. On the 20th Bloomberg had it 55-30 and on the 17th Rasmussen had it 50-29.
However, and it’s a big however, Quinnipiac also polled on head-to-head match-ups between Hillary and the four leading Republicans—Trump, Carson, Rubio and Cruz–and did the same with Bernie. In this polling both Hillary and Bernie came out ahead in every case, but there was a very surprising result: Bernie did better than Hillary in three of the four match-ups, and they were tied in the fourth. Hillary’s average polling margin was 3 ¾%; Bernie’s was 6 ¼%.
How can this be explained? I’d say it’s because, first of all, Bernie is getting more well-known as his campaign keeps rolling along. He was relatively unknown, compared to Clinton, when he first announced. That has definitely changed for the better.
Secondly, the Clintons, both Bill and Hillary, are polarizing figures. They’ve got an awful lot of baggage, and that is probably translating into less support for Hillary from independents compared to actual independent Bernie Sanders. Most independents are that way because they have problems with both the Republican and Democratic parties, and Hillary is nothing if not a Democratic Party person, deep into it for decades, including all of the corporate culture and corporate money that has such a big influence.
It sure seems like major media should report on this out-in-the-open polling win for Bernie.
This polling win points to Bernie’s path to victory: building an alliance between progressive Democrats, progressive independents, a small percentage of moderate Republicans disgusted by what has happened to their party, and other moderates/centrists who might have concerns about Bernie’s democratic socialism but have even greater concerns about ultra-rightist extremism rampant within the Republican Party.
Of course, for this to happen, Bernie needs to win the Democratic Party nomination. He needs to win or come close in the Iowa caucuses and the same in New Hampshire. He probably needs to actually win at least one of those elections. These results will undoubtedly lead more people to check him out, more doubts about Hillary and momentum going into the elections in South Carolina, Nevada, Super Tuesday March 1 and beyond.
All of this is possible based on current polling in Iowa and New Hampshire. Bernie is also doing well from a fund-raising standpoint—though there’s a definite need for more people to contribute—and from the standpoint of using his refusal to accept super PAC money as a reason why people should support him.
Finally, but by no means least, he is doing a good job of rolling out more specific policy proposals whose content, by and large, is consistently progressive, though he is not taking pacifist or hard-left positions. There is certainly constructive criticism to be made of aspects of his overall platform, but any objective assessment of it as found on his website and as reflected in his public speeches and statements must conclude that, if elected, Bernie will lead our country in a very different, hopeful, much needed and much more progressive direction than Hillary Clinton.
Keep it up, Bernie.
*Here’s my first “Bernie Can Win” column.