Bernie Sanders is making a major move in the polls, catching up to Hillary Clinton in a pair of important states and making a strong case that he will be the best candidate Democrats have to offer in November.
After a very narrow loss in Iowa followed by a resounding win in New Hampshire, Sanders and Clinton had something of a cooling-off period. New polls for New Hampshire and Iowa came out seemingly every day at the start of the new year, but now the two move on to a Nevada caucus with light polling. Questions about whether Sanders can maintain his momentum have been put largely on hold.
Now some of those answers are coming clear. A new CNN/ORC Poll showed that in Nevada, where Clinton once held a more than 30-point lead, voters are split almost evenly on which candidate to vote for. Clinton holds a very slight 48 percent to 47 percent advantage, but Bernie Sanders may have an important advantage in the economy, CNN found.
“The economy is rated the top issue by 42% of likely Democratic caucusgoers, and which candidate would better handle it seems a central division in the race.
“Overall, Clinton holds broad advantages as more trusted on foreign policy, race relations, immigration and health care, but likely caucusgoers are split 48% for Clinton and 47% for Sanders on the economy. Among those likely caucusgoers who call the economy their top issue in choosing a candidate, more support Sanders: 52% back him vs. 43% for Clinton.”
And Sanders could have more wins ahead. A new Public Policy Polling survey (via MassLive) found that he leads in Massachusetts with 49 percent to Clinton’s 42 percent, and in his home state of Vermont has 86 percent support.
— Financial Times (@FT) February 17, 2016
Bernie Sanders has more good signs in the polls beyond the tightening numbers. Sanders is also making the case that he is the more electable candidate, outperforming Hillary Clinton among the potential GOP candidates.
Real Clear Politics shows that Sanders leads Donald Trump, who at this point appears the most likely pick by Republican voters, by a 10-point margin, 50 to 40 percent. Hillary Clinton leads by only a 5-point margin, close to the margin of error for polls.
— Poppy Harlow (@PoppyHarlowCNN) February 17, 2016
While Bernie Sanders has struggled in polls of non-white voters, he holds some other key advantages that could make him formidable in the general election. He polls higher among independents, men, voters under 35, and voters with college degrees, the Daily Caller noted. With non-white voters likely to rally around the Democratic candidate, as the group historically has done, Sanders would have a coalition stronger than anything Clinton could bring.
As the Daily Caller noted, Bernie Sanders is moving ever closer to stealing the mantle of front runner away from Clinton.
“For Clinton, there is a real — and growing — danger here. If Sanders continues to poll this favorably against GOP candidates, it will completely undermine one of her key arguments with Democratic voters – that she’s more ‘electable’ than Sanders in the general election. That could allow Sanders to woo wavering Democratic voters who say they lean his way but who are worried that he may not be able to compete as effectively as Clinton with the GOP nominee in November.”
Bernie Sanders could be reaching a tipping point, with more than half of delegates being awarded within the next month and his strength in the polls increasing steadily. A win in Nevada could be immeasurable to his campaign, proving to voters in the coming states that he is not only electable, but also potentially the best chance Democrats have of holding on the White House.
[Image via Instagram/Bernie Sanders]