Feb 24 2020

Popularity Contest

I’m sorry, but for the last 12 hours (and 12 hours before that) I have been hearing nothing but wailing and moaning and rending of garments by New ConservaDem, 3rd Way, Blue Dog, DLC, Coffee Party United, Bowles-Simpson Catfood Salesman Radical Moderate Centrists and their Villager Mouthpiece Puppets.

Like it or not Bernie Sanders is really popular, and not just with Democrats. Were I to channel Hillary ’16 I might say, shut up, get with the program, give me all your monies and your donors and here’s the first week of your 127 city bus tour telling people how Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being you’ve ever known in your life.

However it’s only 3 States. There are 54 more contests.

Putin’ on my Pundit Hat (I want you all to know I’m handsomely remunerated by the IRA, no, not the Irish ones) I honestly wonder why the Never Trump Institutional Democrats are sticking with Jeb who is hemorrhaging his solid Black 45 – 65 support even in Firewall South Carolina to Bloomberg and (shudder) Sanders when you have a just as Conservative, much, much younger Marco Rubio standing around actually, like, you know, in Second Place?

Could it be because he’s Gay and the country is just not ready for the picture of two guys kissing?

And what the heck is wrong with Warren? Third Place (take that Jeb) and probably the only candidate who could actually have crossover appeal.

Could it be because she’s a woman?

But what about Bernie? Well, what about him? Beats the Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio by the largest margin head to head Nationally and in the Battleground States. Running margin of error behind Klobuchar in Minnesota of all places and nobody else reaches viability.

Regular Democrats Just Aren’t Worried About Bernie
by Peter Beinart, The Atlantic
February 18, 2020

Among ordinary Democrats, Sanders is strikingly popular, even with voters who favor his rivals. He sparks less opposition—in some cases far less—than his major competitors. On paper, he appears well positioned to unify the party should he win its presidential nomination.

So why all the talk of civil war? Because Sanders is far more divisive among Democratic elites—who prize institutional loyalty and ideological moderation—than Democratic voters. The danger is that by projecting their own anxieties onto rank-and-file Democrats, party insiders are exaggerating the risk of a schism if Sanders wins the nomination, and overlooking the greater risk that the party could fracture if they engineer his defeat.

Strange as it sounds, Sanders may be the least polarizing candidate in the presidential field, at least according to surveys of ordinary Democrats. A Monmouth University poll last week found not only that Sanders’s favorability rating among Democrats nationally—71 percent—was higher than his five top rivals’, but also that his unfavorability rating—19 percent—was tied for second lowest. Sanders’s net favorability rating was six points higher than Elizabeth Warren’s, 16 points higher than Joe Biden’s, 18 points higher than Pete Buttigieg’s, 23 points higher than Amy Klobuchar’s, and a whopping 40 points higher than that of Michael Bloomberg, whom more than a third of Democratic voters viewed unfavorably. (By contrast, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn—whom Sanders’s critics often cite as a cautionary tale—enjoyed the support of only 56 percent of his own party members in the months leading up to December’s British election.)

A Quinnipiac poll earlier this month found similarly favorable results for Sanders. Among Democrats nationally, only Warren enjoyed higher net favorability ratings; on that measure, Sanders outpaced Biden, Buttigieg, and Bloomberg. (The pollsters didn’t ask about Klobuchar.) And according to a recent USA Today/IPSOS survey, Sanders is the candidate who Democrats say best shares their values.

Although political handicappers sometimes presume that centrist Democrats are hostile to Sanders, the Quinnipiac poll suggests that Sanders enjoys widespread affection even outside his ideological lane. Among self-described moderate or conservative Democrats, Sanders boasts a net favorability rating of 43 points—far higher than Biden or Bloomberg fares among the “very liberal” Democrats who compose Sanders’s ideological base. Ninety-eight percent of Warren supporters, 97 percent of Buttigieg supporters and 92 percent of Biden supporters say they would back Sanders against Donald Trump. Only among Bloomberg supporters does that number dip to 83 percent. Overall, Sanders voters are significantly more likely to say that they won’t back one of his rivals in the general election than the other way around. Sanders’s critics within the party may resent his supporters for threatening to stay home in November. But most Democratic voters, including most centrist ones, have little problem with Sanders himself.

None of this means Sanders would necessarily beat Trump. His ultra-progressive policies and socialist self-identification could energize Trump’s base and alienate the independents and Republican moderates who backed Democratic candidates in 2018. But the evidence does suggest that, if Democratic elites let him, he’s capable of unifying his party’s rank and file behind his campaign. He’s far better positioned than Trump was at this point in 2016, when his net favorability rating among Republicans was almost 20 points lower than Sanders’s is among Democrats today.