Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders may be locked in a polling stalemate with chief Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, but he’s coming out on top in new head-to-head mashups with top Republican contenders.
A McClatchy-Marist poll puts Sanders 12 percentage points above Donald Trump, who is currently battling popular favorite Ben Carson for first place in the polls. While Sanders’ lead over Trump is nothing new, the real shock came in his comparison with Jeb Bush, who is commonly theorized to be the eventual Republican nominee, despite suffering from low polling numbers in recent weeks.
Brent Budowsky, columnist for The Hill, opines that Sanders’ strength in a general election is often ignored:
“For today, there are two issues these polls present. First, the national reporting of the presidential campaign completely fails to reflect Sanders’s strength in a general election, especially against Trump, and against Bush as well. Second, and perhaps more important, Sanders’s strength in general election polling gives credence to the argument I have been making in recent years, that American voters favor progressive populist positions which, if taken by Democrats in the general election, would lead to a progressive populist Democratic president and far greater Democratic strength in Congress.
“It is a fallacy argued by conservatives and, in my view, inaccurately parroted by the mainstream media, that Sanders and other liberals take positions that are far too “left.” The polling shows, issue by issue, and increasingly in general election match-ups of Republicans running against Sanders, that it is the left, not the right, which has the upper hand with American voters.”
Ultimately, Democratic voters will decide who they want to face the Republican nominee in 2016. The results will largely depend on the turnout. Hillary Clinton tends to attract older voters, while Bernie Sanders has the youth vote in his pocket. President Barrack Obama took advantage of similar momentum to Sanders’ grassroots movement, so a primary victory is certainly not impossible.
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