As both the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary draw near, Hillary Clinton is renewing her pitch that she is more electable than Bernie Sanders — but is that really the case? According to a recent poll, the Senator from Vermont would actually do better than Clinton against GOP frontrunner Donald Trump. Other reports even say he has the potential to convert some Republican voters.
According to NBC News, Clinton has been asking voters if they want to risk the accomplishments from the past eight years on a less-experienced, and less-electable, candidate in Bernie Sanders.
On Tuesday evening in Iowa, she said, “Now let me ask you all to think hard about this job that you’re interviewing for.”
“Think hard about the people who are presenting themselves to you, their experience, their qualifications, their positions. And particularly for those of us who are Democrats, their electability.”
Bernie Sanders’ campaign says their candidate is actually the more electable, and the campaign has evidence.
A poll from Quinnipiac University showed that Bernie Sanders would beat the current Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump, by 13 points (51 to 38 percent) with a margin of error of 2.9 percent. Hillary could only get seven points above the real estate mogul (47 to 40 percent).
Sanders campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, explained that his candidate has the ability to motivate young voters, something the Clinton camp can’t do — or at least can’t do as well.
“I think it’s pretty clear that a low-energy, low-turnout election in November would be disastrous for Democrats. But by energizing and engaging young people, which I think everyone has seen [Sanders do] across the country, and voters that do not often participate in elections, we can create the type of wave that will create big gains for Democrats in the Congress and at the state level while continuing us having a Democrat in the White House.”
Weaver also cited his candidate’s potential to reach out to independent voters and conservatives as part of the Vermont Senator’s appeal. The self-described socialist is the longest-serving independent in Congress and has opposed a number of gun-control bills, including the Brady Bill gun-control law in 1993. Likewise, Sanders supported a bill to give gun manufacturers immunity from legal action if one of their firearms was used in a crime, according to Time.
Right now, his record on gun control might be a liability, but in the general election it might not be such a handicap.
Bernie Sanders also has an unexpected appeal among potential Trump voters. According to NBC News, both candidates have an anti-establishment message with populist rhetoric, which registers with frustrated, disaffected voters.
Clinton, on the other hand, has some obstacles reaching across the aisle. As former Democrat Senator Chris Dodd explained about Hillary, “there are 50 percent of the American public that say they’re not going to vote for her.” That was back in 2007, but the same animosity still lingers today.
Still, there’s evidence that Hillary Clinton is the electable candidate. The Quinnipiac University poll shows Sanders with a significant lead, but RealClearPolitics aggregated polls show that Clinton has a slight advantage.
CNN showed that 70 percent of primary voters believe the former Secretary of State is the more electable candidate.
That leaves Bernie Sanders with a lot of work to do if he’s going to change that perspective, and just a few more months to do it. It might help the campaign for voters to know both candidates have an edge against Trump.
[Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images]