Bernie Sanders campaign has long been ridiculed by the political establishment and even by some fellow progressives. Well, they can stop laughing now. The Vermont Senator’s remarkable climb in the polls has crescendoed to unprecedented heights in the latest CNN/WMUR poll that has the anti-establishment candidate defeating frontrunner Hillary Clinton 60% to 33%, a whopping 27% that has got to shock the political establishment at least as much as it shocks me, one of Sanders’ biggest supporters.
This latest New Hampshire poll, conducted before Sunday night’s debate in South Carolina, while stunning, follows a recent trend that has seen Sanders gaining on the former First Lady in Iowa, New Hampshire and nationally. The previous CNN/WMUR poll, which found Sanders ahead with 50% of the vote to Clinton’s 40%, was conducted in late November/early December. Former Secretary of State Clinton has usually enjoyed a polling bump following previous debates, but most consider the last debate the strongest performance by Sanders yet, and many, even those in the mainstream media, declaring him the winner.
While the Clinton campaign has often stressed electability as a core reason Democratic voters should nominate her, many polls have Bernie Sanders outperforming Clinton in head-to-head matchups with likely Republican nominees, especially GOP frontrunner Donald Trump. The CNN/WMUR poll shows Sanders trouncing Clinton among independent voters by 45%. Strong support from independents is likely one of the reasons he polls very favorably when matched up against Donald Trump. CNN reports:
Those undeclared voters are critical to Sanders’ support: 70% in the new poll say they plan to vote for him, 25% Clinton. Among registered Democrats, it’s 50% Sanders to 41% Clinton. Still, that represents an increase for Sanders among registered Democrats. The December poll found him trailing Clinton, 47% to 40%, among that group.
Sanders also has astonishingly high favorability ratings among those likely to vote in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary, and is broadly seen as the candidate with the “personal characteristics and qualities that you think a president should have.”
Overall, 91% say they have a favorable view of Sanders, while just 2% have an unfavorable opinion. That’s improved since December, when 83% had a positive take on the neighboring state’s senator. Almost 6-in-10 say they see Sanders as the more presidential candidate in the field, compared to 33% for Clinton.
It certainly appears that the political establishment has underestimated the progressive base of the Democratic Party. American voters aren’t just sick and tired of hearing about Hillary Clinton’s damn emails, they are tired of politics as usual. Bernie Sanders is merely the vessel for voters that have been hungry for political change, but he is a political figure that has long been on the right side of major political battles, such as civil rights and matters of war and peace.
Today, when Bernie Sanders discusses our rigged economic and political systems, and the fact that climate change is an existential threat that must be tackled head on, millions and millions of people, beyond just the usual liberal base, are flocking to his campaign. Many American voters are realizing that the time is now for a unique candidate that is more than just a politician, but someone helping lead a political revolution to fundamentally change a system controlled by the 1%. The revolution may not be televised, but it might be hastagged: #FeelTheBern.