Author: Steven Rosenfeld
Another nationwide poll this week found Bernie Sanders would not only beat Donald Trump in the race for president, he would do significantly better than Hillary Clinton if he were the Democratic nominee facing Trump.
“Trump trails either Democratic candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and 50 percent of American voters say they would be embarrassed to have Trump as president,” said the Quinnipiac University National poll. “American voters back Clinton over Trump 47-40 percent… Sanders tops Trump 51-38 percent.”
But that finding, based on interviews with 1,140 voters last week, also found that Sanders would lose by a few percentage points—just outside the poll’s margin of error—if he faced Sen. Marco Rubio for president, and that he would be tied with Sen. Ted Cruz if the race were held last week.
These hypotheticals don’t mean that much when looking toward voting in November 2016. But they are important signs about momentum and public perceptions going into the first nominating contests early next year, which begin in Iowa in less than six weeks. More than anything, the poll shows that the mainstream media’s lack of coverage of the Sanders campaign is doing a disservice to Democratic voters.
While many Democratic voters overwhelmingly say Clinton has the experience to be president, both she and Trump have the highest negative ratings of the entire 2016 field. Trump’s are worse: 59 percent of all voters polled give him an unfavorable rating overall, whereas that figure is 51 percent for Clinton and 31 percent for Sanders.
The public’s negative perceptions of Clinton and Trump are persistent and comparable, Quinnipiac found, even though two-thirds said she has the experience to be president and about the same percentage president, and that he would be tied with Sen. Ted Cruz if the race were held last week.
“Half of American voters say they’d be embarrassed to have Donald Trump as their Commander in Chief and most Americans think he doesn’t have a good chance in November, but there he is still at the top of the Republican heap,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “Hillary Clinton tops him. Sen. Bernie Sanders hammers him and Sen. Ted Cruz is snapping at his heels. Can a candidate that half the American electorate thinks is an embarrassment win in November?”