Bernie Sanders was once considered a longshot in the 2016 presidential race, but his popularity is growing. But a new CNN poll reveals that Sanders’ chances against the GOP’s lead contender are quite good. Trump, despite his attack on John McCain for his POW status, remains popular with Republicans, with the billionaire still driving the GOP clown car.
Nineteen percent of Republicans said that they would support Trump over the other GOP candidates, with Jeb Bush right behind The Donald at 15 percent. Scott Walker is the only other Republican candidate to manage double-digit support, according to the poll:
Among Democrats,Hillary Clinton remains the clear favorite — though by a steadily-narrowing margin. Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders, however, is shaking things up a bit with his grassroots appeal. Though he remains a longshot on paper, Sanders has gone from five percent support in April to a whopping 18 percent in the July poll. Joe Biden, who has not yet announced a 2016 run, narrowly trails Sanders by four percentage points.
Sanders may be down in the polls, but he’s not out. Though detractors say he does not have a chance, Sanders would fare quite well against the leaders of the GOP pack. Against Donald Trump, for example, Sanders would win by an astounding 20 points:
Sanders manages a significantly smaller lead over Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, but respondents still placed him six points above Scott Walker and one point ahead of George Bush’s slightly-less-stupid brother.
Though Sanders’ popularity is steadily growing, he has a long way to go before he clinches the Democratic nomination. Asked who they thought would be the Democratic nominee, 70 percent of Americans predicted Clinton as the clear winner at 75 percent. Jeb Bush also managed to find himself the clear winner where the Republican nomination is concerned with 39 percent answering that he would win (to Trump’s 18 percent). Coincidentally, Bush happens to be the candidate against whom Sanders is weakest.
While Sanders remains a longshot, it is important not to count him out yet. Clinton’s lead over Bush is also narrow at 51 percent to 46 percent. Against Trump, Clinton does not make as strong a showing as Sanders 19 point lead — slightly less than Sanders’ spectacular numbers versus Hair Force One. Against Walker, however, Clinton’s ability to win is far more certain:
Sanders is absolutely not down and out. After all, he is the only Democratic candidate whose favorability rating is higher than unfavorability. The true problem is that 41 percent answered that they have “never heard of” Sanders.
Both Sanders and Clinton, despite Clinton remaining a clear favorite among Democrats at large, have a lot to offer America. Though Sanders trails her in the polls, one thing is certain: If he manages to clinch the primary, he will present a danger to Republicans hoping to find themselves in the oval office.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.