Bernie Sanders may be behind in the polls and losing ground to Hillary Clinton, but new polling shows that he could be the Democrats’ best bet to open new battlegrounds and turn even reliably red states like Arizona back to blue.
A poll this week from Arizona State University shows that in Arizona, general election voters favor Sanders in a hypothetical matchup against GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.
Hillary Clinton doesn’t far so well, ABC 15 noted.
“Between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, 38 percent would vote for Trump, 38 percent would vote for Clinton, 15 percent are undecided and 9 percent said neither.”
“On a Clinton and Ted Cruz ballot, 41 percent would vote for Cruz, 35 percent would vote for Clinton, 14 percent are undecided and 10 percent said neither.”
“If the election was between Trump and Bernie Sanders, 39 percent would vote for Sanders, 36 percent would vote for Trump, 18 percent are undecided and 7 percent said neither.”
While other southwestern states have turned blue including Nevada and New Mexico, Arizona has remained a reliably Republican state for the past several cycles. In 2012, even as Obama was winning most battleground states against Mitt Romney, he lost Arizona by 10 points. Even in 2008, when Obama won even bigger margins nationwide, McCain carried Arizona by nearly 9 points.
The Merrill Poll from Arizona this week may not necessarily be indicative of an upset in the making. Tara Blanc, the poll’s co-director, noted that it is still too far off to tell anything about the general election other than some unrest among voters.
“I think, honestly, they’re not happy with the status quo, they want something quite different, they just don’t know what that is,” Blanc said.
Other polls show big general election problems for Bernie Sanders. Exit polling from Ohio and Florida show that he would have trouble attracting a broad range of voters needed to win in November, the Wall Street Journal noted.
“The demographic groups that Mr. Sanders carried in both Ohio and Florida were young voters, white men, those without religious affiliation, those who considered themselves very liberal, independents, and those who said income inequality is the biggest problem facing the nation. This gives a sense of who the senator’s supporters are as well as the kind of campaign he has run. It also suggests constraints on Mr. Sanders’s ability to appeal broadly to a national electorate.”
The point could be moot anyway, as polls show that Bernie Sanders has an increasingly slim path to the Democratic nomination. Hillary Clinton has an ever-growing lead, to the point that Sanders would have to win close to 60 percent of the remaining pledged delegate in order to overcome Clinton.
That would mean Sanders winning in states like New York, where Hillary Clinton served as a Senator and where Bill Clinton maintains an office for his foundation. An Emerson Poll found that Clinton leads by 48 points over Sanders, 71 percent to 23 percent, for the New York primary coming on April 19.
But the polls showing Bernie Sanders ahead in Arizona could still be a good sign for Democrats. For all the problems that Sanders would have in the general election, Donald Trump’s obstacles are even bigger. Polls show that he has a nearly 80 percent disapproval rate among Hispanic voters, which could mean that states like Arizona would be in play for Hillary Clinton in November.
[Picture by Ralph Freso/Getty Images]