Poll: Sanders Is More Electable than Clinton in the General Election
Recent Quinnipiac poll results (source; click to enlarge)
by Gaius Publius
I've covered this story before, but the latest Quinnipiac poll confirms it. Bernie Sanders is not unelectable — just the opposite, in fact. Sanders is more electable than Clinton in head-to-head polling against Republican candidates in the general election.
But to win in the general, he has to survive the Democrats, including the many in the party whose support for Clinton hinges on the "fact" that "Bernie's got nice policies, but he can't win." He can't win against Clinton if the Democratic Party unites against him. But his electability against the Republican is beyond question at this point.
Quinnipiac has a write-up here, with a click-through to the pdf of the data. But the bottom line is well captured in the graphic above.
- Against Trump — Sanders +8, Clinton +6
- Against Cruz — Sanders +10, Clinton +5
- Against Carson — Sanders +6, Clinton +3
- Against Rubio — Sanders +1, Clinton +1
In the head-to-head with Clinton, Sanders' is losing some ground. The spread is now 30 points in her favor, 60%–30%.
Sanders Captures More Republican Voters than Clinton
As I've predicted (and I'm not alone by a long shot), Sanders and his message have greater appeal to Republican voters. Drilling down into the results (pdf), we find that while Clinton loses Republican voters against Trump 7%–82% (question 6), Sanders does better, 11%–80% (question 10). Sanders also gets 52% of Independents versus Clinton's 45%.
These results are similar to those against Cruz. Sanders gets almost 10% more of the independent vote versus Cruz than Clinton does — 51% goes to Sanders versus 43% to Clinton. In addition, Sanders' net favorable rating is +13, the highest of all candidates, to Clinton's –7 (and Trump's –22).
Bottom line: It's impossible to make the case that Sanders can't win in the general election, at least based on data to date. I understand that competing campaigns — Clinton's, O'Malley's — have a reason to perpetuate that illusion. But for the media to treat it as factual is journalistic malpractice at best, or loading the dice at worse.
Are the Dice Loaded Against Sanders?
I think it's clear they are, and not based just on the behavior of Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the DNC's debate scheduling. More than one Democratic insider has touted Clinton's greater electability, or worse, Sanders' unelectability, as if they were facts. This clearly loads the dice.
Why? There are likely many reasons, from the Clinton campaign's arm-twisting to people's desire to curry favor to the person they see as their next bread-and-butterer — their next employment opportunity, media-access gatekeeper, or party-advancement skid-greaser.
But beyond that there's this, a factor I consider the most powerful of all. Just as the climate-solutions world is largely invested in incrementalist proposals — proposals that don't disrupt the current economic or political order — so the world of political insiders, inhabited by both parties, is invested in keeping the rigged money flowing, and flowing to both parties, from the rigged "insider game." This story's been told on these pages more times than can be counted — for example, here. The fact is sad but true:
Everyone else who's running [for president], on both sides, is an insider playing within — and supporting — the "insider game," the one that keeps insiders wealthy and outsiders struggling, the one where the wealthy and their retainers operate government for their benefit only. What sets Sanders apart is his determination to dismantle that game, to take it apart and send its players home (back to the private sector) or to jail.As much as anything else, Sanders' threat to take apart the insider game accounts for his great popularity. It also represents one of Clinton's greatest vulnerabilities.
Two friends talking
But Sanders will have to defeat the Democratic insiders protecting that game to get into the general election. You can help.
First, explode the myth that he can't be elected, every chance you get. It's a fairy tale and deserves fairy-tale treatment. Second, click to help him here, if you're so inclined. (You can adjusts the split any way you like at the link.) Thanks!