In the aftermath of the October 15th debate, Senator Bernie Sanders closed the gap between himself and front runner Hillary Clinton.
The average of the last six national polls, as reported by RealClearPolitics.com, stretching over a three week period before the debate, Hillary’s vote share in a Democratic Primary was 44%. In the CNN/ORG poll right after the debate, she got 45%, not much change. By contrast, Sanders averaged a vote share of only 24%. But in the post-debate polling, he surged to 29% of the vote.
Since July 15, 2015, Sanders ratings have gone from 23 favorable, 22 unfavorable to their current level of 41 favorable and only 29 unfavorable.
During the same time period, Hillary’s ratings have been flat with her favorable/unfavorable rating unchanged since July at 46% favorable/ 50% unfavorable.
Even so, there is some evidence that Sanders’ surge has run its course. In the CNN survey, taken after the debate, it was clear that Sanders had gotten his point across. Asked which candidate would be the best at bridging income inequality, Hillary was ahead by only 42-38. But, still, Hillary led Sanders by 16 points. It may be that Sanders has begun to approach the upward boundary of leftist voters in the Democratic Primary.
On the other hand, there is significant demand for Biden to enter the race. While he draws only 18% if the vote in the three way Clinton-Sanders-Biden field, 47% of the primary voters want him to run for president. Between defections from Hillary and on the left and Biden’s appeal to the party’s more centrist voters, Hillary could be in a lot of trouble.
And then there is the Obama factor. Blacks constitute 25% of the Democratic primary vote. Fifty percent vote for Hillary, twenty-five support Biden and only seven go for Sanders. But if Biden runs and if Obama supports him, look for those numbers to shift dramatically, perhaps enough to nominate Biden.
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