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Polling Analyst Says Bernie’s Post-Debate Poll Slide Is ‘Far Worse’ Than Biden’s

Polling Analyst Says Bernie’s Post-Debate Poll Slide Is ‘Far Worse’ Than Biden’s

In contrast to 2016, Sanders is having to sell himself now more so than his socialist policies, and that’s quite a tall order.

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-VT) polling numbers have declined for months. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has been the primary beneficiary of his falling numbers, in part, by aggressively appealing to the same radical base that Sanders has been trying to win over.

But the results from a fresh round of polls that came out after last week’s debate indicate Sanders’s issues go way beyond Warren. alum and CNN polling analyst Harry Enten explains:

While much of the attention in post-debate polling has focused on the drop of former Vice President Joe Biden, Sanders’ polling looks far worse.


Sanders was at just 14% in CNN’s latest national poll. That’s down from 18% in our last poll. As important, Sanders is now running behind California Sen. Kamala Harris (17%) and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (15%). These are candidates who have lower name recognition than he does.

It’s not just the CNN poll, either. Sanders doesn’t look much better in Quinnipiac’s latest poll, which puts him at 13%. A poll released Wednesday morning by ABC News and The Washington Post did have somewhat better news for him, putting him at 19%, second behind Biden, among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. Still, an average of the three polls out this week puts him at 15%.

History has not been kind to primary runner-ups of previous primaries polling this low of a position. I went back and looked at where 13 previous runner-ups since 1972 have been polling at this point in the primary. All six who went on to win the nomination were polling above Sanders’ 15%.

Indeed, we can widen it out and see how perilous Sanders’ position is. Among all well-known candidates, only 9% polling at between 10% and 20% at this point went onto win the nomination.

What’s Bernie’s most significant issue at this point? Enten says it’s not that Democratic voters find him unlikeable. Instead, Bernie’s problem is that, for primary voters, there are so many similar alternatives to him this time around that don’t come with his 2016 baggage.

Enten’s points about 2016 versus now are key, I think. In 2016, Bernie was the far left wing Democratic candidate, while Democrat voters perceived Hillary Clinton as more moderately left wing. Sanders had no competition for the socialist vote then, but he does now.

So what he’s had to do this year in contrast to 2016 is sell himself more so than his socialist policies:

He is a victim of his own success in that the planks of his 2016 campaign have become liberal litmus tests that many of his rivals for the 2020 nomination are trying to pass: “Medicare for All” and free college tuition among them.

For Sanders to win, he’ll have to convince Democratic primary voters that he’s the right person for a very specific mission.

“They care more about beating Donald Trump than who the candidate is,” said Bill Press, a liberal talk show host and former California Democratic Party chairman who backed Sanders in 2016 but hasn’t yet picked a favorite for 2020. “It’s not going to come to him automatically. He’s going to have to fight for it.”

That’s an uncomfortable position for a politician who has spent his career playing down personality and using the ideological purity of his policy preferences as a political cudgel. The safe space for Sanders — who has few close friends in Congress after 30 years in the House and Senate — has always been to focus on everything but personal qualities.

But now it has to be about him — about why he’s the one.

That article came out in February. It’s been five months now, and it’s clear that Sanders’ attempts at distinguishing himself from the crowded field are not working for him anymore.

That said, it’s early still, and the Sanders campaign thinks no one should count him out as time goes on:

Sanders has an inexhaustible base of grass-roots donors that will churn out tens of millions of dollars for him as long as he’s in the race.

On Tuesday, the campaign announced that it raised $18 million in the second quarter, collected from about 1 million donors giving an average of $18 a piece. Nearly the entire amount came from donors who will be able to give again.

Many of these donors are blue-collar voters who will be pivotal in determining the outcome of the 2020 election — teaching is the most common profession among Sanders donors and Walmart is the most common employer, according to the campaign.

And while most of the buzz coming out of the first Democratic debate centered around Harris and Warren, the Sanders campaign said that it had its second best fundraising day of the year the day after the debate, bringing in $2 million over the course of 24 hours.

Will Sanders be able to win back the support he’s lost before the next round of debates, which are just a few short weeks away? Stay tuned. Because there’s no telling what trillion dollar proposal he’ll come up with next.

— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —


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How I hope he runs as an Independent in 2020 – to spite the D party that screwed him over in 2016.

It’s a shame. He’d have made such a classic commie dictator. That red face, the spittle as he shrieks at the workers…

The longer term poll results are coming closer to my debate impressions:

(1) Sanders is a crazy old man waving his arms around and saying the same things as four years ago, but with even less explanation and mental flexibility. He’s toast.

(2) Biden looked fine. He took that attack from Harris and rebutted it with his record, and he did it effectively enough. It was a choice not to look at her but just at the camera.

(3) Harris came across as negative as usual. Her lecturing tone didn’t seem “gracious” to me, even though she carefully exampted Biden from the “racist” epithet. She will never have 1/2 the class that Biden has had for decades, as a politician. She’s done.

I thought Biden / Harris would be a reasonable ticket in the fall. Use Biden to smuggle Harris into the WH, a place she could never get on her own merits. Then when he croaks, she becomes President Harris (and we’re all done for).

Now I doubt Biden supporters would put up with that. But Biden will have to pick a non-white running mate, and the pickings are slim. Julian Castro?

Why should we be surprised? Last time Bernie was the only one who dared run against Hillary in a field that had been cleared for her coronation. Why would his support hold firm in the face of actual competition for the Socialist Wing of the Democratic Party? (to one-up Governor Howard Dean.)

    Tom Servo in reply to JBourque. | July 3, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    Bingo – his claim to fame was that he was the “Not Hillary” candidate.

    Now the dems have 20 “not hillary” candidates.

Bernie is a nasty, bitter, dangerous old man. It’ll be fun to watch this play out. All that noise and bluster … to absolutely no end.

Yo Bernie! Figure it out. You’re a nut, a rude, loundmouthed, nut.

That is all.

Wonder if others see what I do, and this goes for Warren as well, a very angry fascist. Basically The Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. And Harris seems to be talking herself into a similar mindset. A self-inflicted wound.

In 2016 Bernie appealed to progressive voters that found Hillary toxic. They’ve more attractive options this time around.

Biden gets the nomination if coastal
media back him without hesitation from here on out, but the media are split on that, with ideological preference for Harris.

Harris gets the nod if she plays to the center – and the media helpfully censor her most egregious / radical stump comments.

His angry, humorless personality is offputting. I find him to be intensely dislikable

2smartforlibs | July 3, 2019 at 5:44 pm

I’d just as soon see the entire lot do a Hindenburg impression but the poll you quote is a push poll. You might as well have said Mickey Mouse had 98%.

Who woulda thunk it? People don’t like a bitter old Marxist fucking troll?

FWIW: in one poll Biden and Harris are supposedly in a statistical tie, with Bernie! a distant third.

Not much faith can be placed in any poll at any stage of the campaign, so a different poll tomorrow may show Biden with a lead of a few million percent. But I think these polls are actually just the visible signs the REAL Democrat primary is going on now almost exclusively behind the scenes (with posturing, dickering, threatening, and horse trading) like noise of a battle you cannot see. I think this particular poll was fired off by a faction wanting to give Harris a boost. By the time voters get a say in the early primary and caucus states I would not be surprised if it were already over, and any campaigning at that point little more than hippodroming. That is almost what happened in 2016 when Democrat leaders cheated to give Hillary! the nomination, and things have only gotten worse since then.

We tend to think of voting fraud as something Democrats only do to Republicans. The 2016 Democrat Presidential primary proved that Democrats will screw each other as well. Say what you will about Democrats, but through ballot harvesting, voting by mail, and supine state and Federal judges they have assembled a voting fraud juggernaut the world has never seen, the sort of machine that makes Third World autocrats green with envy.

Bernie’s the real deal. He really is a communist. Old D’rat voters—the ones who would have joined the Communist Party USA fifty years ago but were too cheap to pay the dues—and younger voters who value “authenticity” will remain Bernie supporters. Warren and Harris simply aren’t in his league, no matter what noises they make on TV. Neither can be relied on after the election. Warren is just a fake, a fake everything, a fake Indian, a fake communist, a fake human. After 2020 she’s as likely to turn into a fake something else as not, leaving the communists disappointed. And Harris will say whatever her immediate audience wants to hear; she’s already notorious for “walking back” everything she says a few hours or days later. But Bernie’s the same old communist, day after day, year after year. With Bernie, a voter knows what he’s getting.

I consider the polls worthless. They’re too easily manipulated, and unless we know exactly who’s conducting them, we can’t even guess which way they’re being slanted. But we can be pretty sure it’s one way or another.

I’m not at all surprised his numbers fell. I have wondered if the reason the DNC is running so many socialist, Marxist, far left but-jobs is to assure that Bernie does not win the primary as he (almost)did in the 2016 election. The DNC still wants all the donations from the socialist wannabe dupes, but the donations won’t all be addressed to Bernie now as there are plenty of American hating socialists to donate to. They are fully aware Bernie can’t win a general election so this is a good way to collect the money while assuring his defeat in the primary this time. It dilutes it so a moderate will be left standing.

What the polls are really showing is how the Democratic voters are not very happy with what they are being offered. Of the 180 million who have well liked health insurance through their jobs, how many are happy at the idea of losing it to get single payer healthcare? For those who cannot afford Obamacare or those in the VA who cannot get healthcare outside a very slow and inefficient VA, how many are happy about the prospect of giving illegal aliens healthcare? OF all the American voters who are living paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford a $400 bill for some unexpected issue, how many are going to vote for higher taxes? Outside a small minority, how many Americans are really going to be happy with abortions on demand up to the time of birth? The list goes on.
The real issue is that people looking to vote Democrat are bouncing around looking for their best candidate with their ultimate choice being outside any of these candidates. The real issue is that most voters (outside of the black community who will vote for any black candidate regardless of their politics or policies) will be faced with a Democrat that can’t stand, due to their extreme socialist positions, or Trump with the result of many just sitting out this election.
Besides, trying to determine voter likes today matter little for between the election date and now much will happen. We will likely have a significant economic mess, revelations from the bogus Mueller investigation along with uncovered rampant illegal behavior by many Democrats and a few Republicans, and who knows what else between then and now. In other words, the political environment today will look nothing like the one we will be seeing in 12-18 months.

You don’t often get a chance to run against the worst candidate in History. Bernie did, and he couldn’t capitalize.

Trump on the other hand, is the the 45th President of the United States even though it was proven the fix was in against Trump by the US DoJ, FBM, CIA, National Intelligence, and The State Department.

Bernie can’t fall back on the “but it was rigged against me” argument either. You can’t get anymore rigged than The US Government Executive Branch using taxpayer resources to actively work against a private US Citizen running for political office.

Bernie’s just a failed Commie with outdated policies. Voters can see this.

I don’t think people like Crazy Communist Old Men, who would tell/scold you for 4-8 years.