Does Bernie Really Think He Can Win This?

By Lou Gumede

When President Barack Obama won re-election in 2012, there was already speculation if then Secretary-of-State Hillary Clinton would choose to run for the Presidency in 2016.

Three years later, Hillary Clinton would declare her intention to become the first woman President of the United States and instantly became the frontrunner to replace Obama as the head of the Democratic Party.

Hillary would later be joined by another two major candidates, namely Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders; with Sanders being Hillary’s main opposition.

Clinton began the polling season with a large lead over all her counterparts and is currently enjoying a favourable lead over Sanders and O’Malley.

However, Sanders has gained some ground on Hillary in a New York Times/CBS News poll that was released this week.

The poll shows that Hillary received 48% of Democratic votes nationwide, whilst Bernie received 41%.

This information coupled with two other state polls released on Tuesday, a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that 49% of Democratic voters in Iowa would back Sanders, whilst 44% would choose Clinton.

This is a far cry from the results a month ago, where Clinton led Sanders by 11 points.

Another poll by Monmouth University showed an even larger gap, where Sanders leads Clinton 53% to 39% in New Hampshire. Clinton led Sanders in New Hampshire in November.

Nationally, Clinton’s lead has been slipping gradually; according to a CNN poll in December Clinton led Sanders 50% to 34% compared to a poll conducted in late November where Clinton was up 58% to Sanders’ 30%.

This should be worrying to Clinton, as the last three rounds of national polls have seen Sanders pull closer to her.

However, according to the national poll released on Tuesday, 7 in 10 Democratic voters, including most of Bernie Sanders’ supporters, still believe that Clinton will win the Democratic primary according to the New York Times.

However, University of Rhode Island Political Science Professor Brian Krueger cautions not to read into the poll results too much.

“We are not talking about big swings, he [Sanders] was low 30s in November and is now high 30s,” Krueger told RISE NEWS. “Part of the explanation in that O’Malley’s support has gone from 4 or 5 to about 1 or 2 percent, with Bernie picking up most of that support.”

Nevertheless the numbers have forced Clinton to start confronting Sanders more and try to dispel or disapprove of his electability and his apparent stance on gun violence.

Clinton has repeatedly tried to bring attention to Sanders’ vote to legislation that broadly shields gun manufacturers and dealers from liability lawsuits in 2005; this is to show that Sanders is not in line with the standing of Clinton, President Obama and the Democratic Party.

According to Krueger, Sanders was not probably expecting to win the race but rather wanted to run in order to make Clinton address issues that matter to those on the left of the party.

“In other words, he did not expect to win, but he could expect to have an enthusiastic following and force the discussion of issues otherwise buried,” Krueger said.

Interestingly though, Krueger believes that as GOP candidate Donald Trump becomes more successful, so will Sanders.

“I also think that as Trump succeeds so will Sanders, in that Bernie supporters will feel that he would actually have a chance of beating Trump in a general election.”

Krueger believes that Sanders could “pull a primary victory or two” but never actually take an overall lead.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for you us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place. 

Cover Photo Credit: Phil Roeder/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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