Good news for the Sanders campaign. Bernie is gaining supporters and endorsements by the handful in recent days. As Clinton’s numbers plummet, Sanders’s are surging.
A recent poll by Public Policy Polling shows that Martin O’Malley’s supporters overwhelmingly prefer Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton. Although polling at only 2.3 percent, those voters could make or break Sanders in a general election showdown. The survey found that 43 percent of O’Malley supporters would give their vote to Bernie Sanders while only 20 percent would vote for Hillary.
For those supporting O’Malley, if that 43 percent of voters turn to Bernie Sanders in a Trump-Sanders matchup, it could help tip the Democrats over the edge to a win.
Second choice of O'Malley voters in Iowa: Sanders 43, Clinton 20 https://t.co/jYAaZt2bkN— PublicPolicyPolling (@ppppolls) January 15, 2016
But this isn’t the only good news for Sanders. In another poll released by PPP, where they surveyed 1,901 registered voters, Bernie Sanders won every matchup against Republican candidates except when paired with Donald Trump. In that poll, it was a dead heat between the two men, with each getting 42 percent. Other polls put Sanders ahead by eight points. In similar polls Hillary Clinton loses to Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio by several percentage points. Again, Donald Trump matched against Hillary ends up tied at 42 percent.
But Bernie still needs to get over the primary hurdle, where Hillary Clinton still has a big lead. Again, the good news is that Clinton appears to be losing supporters, and in light of the most recent Chelsea debacle, her numbers aren’t rolling gently downhill. They’re taking a dangerous nosedive.
Real Clear Politics’ recent poll numbers showed Hillary at 52.8 percent against Bernie’s 33.3 percent. Yet in the last week, Hillary’s numbers have dropped to 48.3 percent, while Sanders’s numbers have climbed to 39.7. That’s a 6.4 percentage point rise in polling numbers in just three days. And since Chelsea Clinton’s gross mischaracterization of Bernie’s single payer health care proposal, he has actually gained momentum and is getting more supporters as Hillary loses them.
And Bernie’s numbers will only continue to climb. According to a USA Today/Rock the Vote poll of Millennials, the under-35 crowd, as a whole, are overwhelmingly Bernie Sanders supporters. The gender gap makes Sanders supporters even more interesting. Among young men aged 18-25, Bernie is extremely popular. Men aged 26-34 favor Hillary, but only by a very small margin. While overall, men under 35 support Sanders over Clinton by just 4 points, under-35 women overall favor Bernie by a whopping 20 points.
By contrast, Baby Boomers are more likely to be Clinton supporters rather than going for Bernie Sanders. And Baby Boomers are an aging, shrinking electorate.
Perhaps the most telling reason Bernie Sanders has so many supporters among the Millennial generation is because his ideals most closely reflect theirs. Overall, younger voters largely favor mandatory background checks for gun purchases, support a transition to renewable energy, want body cameras on police, and reduced prison sentences for non-violent crimes
Even Republicans, many of whom have never voted outside of their party, are feeling the Bern. According to The Atlantic, many traditional GOP voters are disappointed in the candidates their party is fielding and so instead, have become Bernie Sanders supporters. Many have already switched parties so they can vote in closed primary states.
In November, 47-year-old Bryan Brown of Oregon told The Atlantic why he joined the ranks of Republican Bernie Sanders supporters.
“I have been a conservative Republican my entire life. But the Republican party as a while has gotten so far out of touch with the American people. I switched my registration so that I could vote for Sanders in the primary, but the day the primary is over, I’m going to register as an Independent.”
Despite earning the endorsement of several prominent black and Hispanic figures, Sanders is still struggling with to win minority supporters. Black and Hispanic voters declared their support for Hillary early on, primarily because they were unfamiliar with Sanders. As more and more of these potential voters switch from Hillary to Bernie, he could win the majority of their votes. Bernie’s participation in various forums aimed specifically at minority voters has helped him gain wider exposure to an increasingly vital portion of the voting public.
Young black voters have begun to question Clinton’s commitment to their community, and are even accusing the frontrunner of pandering to minority supporters. Victoria M. Massie, who met Bill Clinton as a three-year-old during his 1992 run for president, describes why she won’t support Hillary.
“This election season, Hillary has repeatedly embraced our pop culture and iconography. When notable black musical artists began expressing their support for her, her team ripped Run DMC’s classic logo for ‘Run HRC.’ She’s done the Nae Nae. And during December she twice repackaged parts of black history and culture to fit her Twitter avi. For some of us, our discontent with the kinara was less about the image itself than about our frustration with how often moments like this occur.”
Another scathing statement Massie made summed up how many minorities feel about Clinton.
“Hillary demonstrates little interest in me beyond my capacity to get her into the Oval Office.”
In November, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley participated in BET’s Criminal Justice Forum in South Carolina. Hillary Clinton was notably absent from this event. The event focused on criminal justice issues important to the black community, so her absence was striking, to say the least.
In recent days, Bernie has also earned endorsements from Erica Garner, the daughter of Eric Garner. Garner was choked to death by police for selling cigarettes on the street on Staten Island. NY Daily News’s Shaun King has come out as one of Bernie Sanders’s growing list of supporters.
And the endorsements keep rolling in. Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, actress Eliza Dushku, and The Nation magazine all came out in support of Sanders this week along with MassCare, a Massachusetts single payer advocacy organization.
@BernieSanders now more than ever. the only one who won't be beholden to corporations. a man who who loves our country, loves us all.— Flea (@flea333) January 15, 2016
Perhaps the most important endorsement in recent weeks comes from former DNC chairman Paul Kirk, a superdelegate who backed Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign. Although Kirk’s name isn’t well-known to the average layman, he has significant cachet among traditional New England Democrats and his endorsement could influence other prominent figures to become Bernie Sanders supporters.
As the nation shifts more toward a favorable view of socialism, Bernie Sanders is poised to gain more supporters going into the primaries next month.
[Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty]