19% of Sanders supporters would throw Clinton under the bus

A new poll (March 24th) by Monmouth University says, "Among Democrats who support Bernie Sanders for their party’s nomination, 78% say they would vote for Clinton over Trump in November, while 12% would actually vote for Trump and 7% would not vote at all."

The Republicans have a similar problem, where "two-thirds (68%) of voters who back Ted Cruz for the GOP nomination say they would vote for Trump in November, while 13% would vote for Clinton and 10% would not vote. Among Republicans who back John Kasich, just 50% would vote for Trump and 19% would vote for Clinton, with 22% saying they would sit out the general election."

It is still early to attribute much meaning to such polls, but the question of the "Bernie or Bust factor has been raised, with those who don't like to think it may be true demanding evidence, those who fear it is true somewhat exaggerating its effect.

Clinton would beat Trump

According to the same poll, "[i]n a hypothetical head-to-head race, Clinton has a putative 10 point lead – 48% to 38% for Trump. While Clinton gets the support of 89% of self described Democrats – a fairly typical partisan support level at this stage of the race – Trump can only claim the support of 73% of Republicans."

Clinton would also beat Cruz, but Kasich would beat Clinton.

It is still early to attribute much meaning to such polls, but the question of the "Bernie or Bust factor has been raised, with those who don't like to think it may be true demanding evidence, those who fear it is true somewhat exaggerating its effect.

Hat Tip: Doug Alder.

More like this

Looking at that poll, in every matchup, Clinton got fewer independents. Only 1% fewer against Trump, but 11% fewer against Cruz, and 25% fewer against Kasich.

My impression – and I don't have much to base this on – is that John Kasich has been defined by John Kasich, and that the aforementioned poll reflects this. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats have as yet had good reason to scrutinize his record. If he's the Republican nominee, that would change.

Re. Clinton-Sanders: Has a comparable poll of Clinton supporters been taken, and if so, what were the results, i.e. what percent would vote for Sanders, what percent would vote for the Republican, and what percent just wouldn't?

By cosmicomics (not verified) on 29 Mar 2016 #permalink


Since polls like this are not very useful this far out, I will offer my "fundamental" opinion, based on past elections. If the opponent is Kasich, lots of Democrats (men in particular) will vote for him over Sanders, assuming the scrutiny you mention does not result in general negatives.

Sanders will definitely lose to Kasich. Clinton will probably win, but it would be close.

Clinton takes away the issues that would hurt Sanders, particularly foreign policy, and gender gap should play well in her favor.

zebra - It's true that polls are not giving us the full story. However, every poll I have seen shows Sanders with a better lead than Clinton against all three of the potential Republican nominees, including beating Kasich. If we want to go with gut feelings rather than polls, we can support them any way we like. You say that more male Democrats will go for Kasich if Sanders is the nominee, but that a gender gap would benefit Clinton. I would say that if you assume more undecided women will vote for the Democrat if she's a woman, you should also assume that more undecided men will vote for the Republican in that case. You say foreign policy hurts Sanders. I think that many independents are sick of a foreign policy centered on endless wars and coups d'etat, and Sanders, unlike Clinton, will offer a clear difference from the Republican candidate.

The ongoing results of various national head-to-heads comparing Sanders's performance with Clintons suggest exactly this, that where Sanders beats a GOP candidate, Clinton would beat that same candidate by a smaller amount, in some cases losing where Sanders would win - suggesting that Sanders supporters, when faced with a Clinton choice, would either abandon her for the GOP or not bother to vote at all. This is unfortunate - but given the factual Clinton (both Bill and Hill) record on economic conservatism, catering to the professional as opposed to working classes, and their subtle but effective undermining of minorities in the 1990s, not terribly surprising. I think they have both improved somewhat as to the last issue, but it's still hard to make a case for Clinton being a liberal-populist economic maven.

By Bruce Jensen (not verified) on 29 Mar 2016 #permalink

Cosmicomics, I think your comment about Kasich is exactly on the nose.

The polls surely seem to support the "manufactured consent" hypothesis of propaganda (lies told often enough) as reality, 'cause surely Clinton would have next to zero % if the average voter were even slightly informed about her and her husband's actual records and their contributions to the destruction of the middle class, while making a handful of the worst among us absurdly wealthy.
And for those of you who are yourselves criminally uninformed about Clinton (s), Google it. It's all there!

By H. Lee Grove (not verified) on 29 Mar 2016 #permalink

Bruce Jensen #5,

The polls tell us nothing at this point, other than what people say in response to the polls.

As I pointed out in a previous thread, the poll results show internal contradiction. If someone is motivated to vote for Sanders by "liberal/progressive" ideology, it would make no sense to then "abandon Clinton for the GOP." Stay home out of petulance, perhaps, but who needs friends like that.

Now, if a large component of the Sanders voters are really R-leaning in the first place, for which there is some evidence, certainly they would go back to their usual voting pattern in the general election. That's why Kasich resoundingly defeats Sanders; that group plus conservative Dems both support the "compassionate conservative" who instills confidence about foreign policy ability.

And I don't see where you get the idea that minorities are alienated from Clinton. If so, why are they not flocking to support Sanders, and why are they giving Hillary overwhelming support? In the general, Sanders would inspire less turnout from that critical group, as he has so far.

Even though they are very different, Sanders and Trump are both populist and anti-establishment - which is good enough for a lot of people. Susan Sarandon was just interviewed and said if Sanders is not an option, voting for Trump might just bring the revolution sooner. I am not sanguine about living under a Trump administration, and though I'm not wealthy, it would probably be more comfortable for me to kick the can down the road and vote for Clinton. But I have a lot of friends who are a lot closer to the edge of poverty than me, so I can understand why they really don't want more of the same.

zebra - Bruce Jensen doesn't say that minorities feel alienated from Clinton, only that the Clintons in fact threw them under the bus in the 1990s but managed to do it subtly enough that hardly anyone noticed. Also,your characterization of voters is too simplistic. Many of Sanders' supporters are liberal/progressives, but not all; nor is it true that if they are not true-blue Democrats, they will surely abandon him in November for the Republican alternative, no matter how odious.

Suppose for a moment that my primary interest in voting is to reduce the number of foreigners America kills; since Hillary and Kasich are both neoconservatives in terms of foreign policy, there is relatively little difference between them, whereas Sanders vs. Kasich offers a real contrast. Not all Americans think that uber-hawkishness is the only way to "instill confidence." There's a column up at Salon today in which someone said (paraphrased): look, Hillary voted for Iraq, she was up to her neck in Syria and Libya (also, it might be noted, in favor of overthrowing the Ukrainian government) ... experience is only an asset if you appear to be capable of learning from it.

Not only are polls meaningless this far from the election, but I wonder about who is responding to these polls (the sample).

My phone rings about every other day, and my caller id lets me see who is calling - and if I even think it is possible it is a pollster I let it ring and go to the answering machine.

I cannot be alone in avoiding answering polls.

If they call 20 people for every person who actually answers, how accurate is that?

How representative is the sample of actual voters in Nov. 2016?

My guess - a lot less than it was 20 years ago.

How many people have ditched their landline - and is it even legal to call cell phones for polling?

I am not even sure about the accuracy of entrance and exit polls - I think quite a few people lie about who they will vote for or who they actually voted for.

Look at Michigan - totally wrong!

So I wouldn't pay any attention to any polls until about 10 days before the election (kind of like the weather).

RickA, this is all known. There is a science of polling, and the pollsters are aware of these issues. Generally, polls are pretty good measures of the current thinking of some or another group of people. Their weakness is time, they don't reflect the future that well in a changing situation. On the other hand, even when things are changing, certain information from the polls remain useful, which is why they ask questions beyond simply what a person would do in the voting booth.


With all due respect to Greg, here's another demographic-type analysis. (Really, Greg, I'm sure you could have done just as thorough a job had you assigned the details to your staff and all the interns...)

But it speaks to the point in #13. Snapshot "if the election were today" polls don't tell us much, particularly while the primaries are still undecided.

But there is a lot of information that has been accumulated over time about how people vote and think. That's what we can look at "scientifically" in making projections; it isn't perfect but it also isn't wishful-thinking fantasies.

Trump 2017. Lets make america great again, lets get that wall built around mexico. Think of the jobs the construction will create. Only Trump can create a national divide.

I call on all Hillary Clinton supporters to back Ronald Trump for next president of the USA.

"Even though they are very different, Sanders and Trump are both populist and anti-establishment – which is good enough for a lot of people."

Which is good enough for people who are too shallow to look into facts,
such as who it is that benefits from Trump's tax proposal.

Aside from that, if, as seems probable, Sanders loses the nomination, he would still have a role to play. His campaign has aroused enthusiasm and emphasized certain issues that otherwise might have been ignored. Clinton and the Democratic Party would have an obvious interest in securing Sanders's support, and I have little doubt that the Democratic platform will be influenced by his positions. Sanders has said that both Democratic candidates are 100 times better than any of the Republicans, and there's no reason to question that he means it. His active participation in a Clinton campaign cannot therefore be ruled out, and neither can the possibility that he would sway a number of supporters who currently state that they could not vote for Clinton.

By cosmicomics (not verified) on 29 Mar 2016 #permalink

My ideal scenario of Sanders is not nominated is that he's offered and takes the VP slot, and becomes a sort of "Campaign Finance Reform Tzar" and also takes on one or two other key issues from his campaign.

And, in return for getting to carry on his revolution that way, he campaigns heavily for the ticket, but focuses on down ballot campaigning to blue-up the Congress in both houses.

In a recent Young Turks interview Sanders said he would not look to include Clinton in his cabinet, then cited a long list of policy demands that would have to be met before he would even endorse her. Nevertheless, one of my independent, but red-leaning office friends thinks she needs him much more than he needs her, and that Hillary will ask Bernie to the prom, as VP, to keep the party together. But another one of my more radical friends thought Sanders was selling out just by listing those policy demands. So I don't know if Clinton would offer VP, if Sanders would accept it, or how many of his people would accept him accepting it.

cosmicomics - "People who are too shallow to look into facts" are often people who are too badly educated by American schools to be able to read and think about complex or mathematical issues; people who are too overworked and tired to spend time seeking out non-corporate news and/or too poor and isolated to have access to much of it; people who, because they are old and remember real news or because they are young and raised to complacency, don't understand how fully the television is dedicated to misinforming them. These things are not character flaws for which they can be held Personally Responsible (TM), as being "shallow" is.

I understand that we have a vicious cycle. The elites insult and mock the ignorant rubes, who rightly resent being treated with contempt, and respond by rejecting and opposing the values and beliefs of the elite. In doing so, they become a pain in the ass to others, thus making a new round of contempt seem justifiable. I deplore this pattern, yet like many if not most overeducated Americans, participate in it. I look at those Trump voters who seem eager to find a solution for their economic woes in racism and say "Glad you lost your job, you dumb sumbitch, you deserve to be poor." But their kids don't deserve it, and their neighbors don't. And if the left wing isn't able to offer a hand to their communities, the right wing will, and they'll grab it like a life preserver without asking the price.

A 75 year old VP for a 69 year old President?

Come on. What ever happened to building for the future?

It should be someone younger with executive experience that can be groomed to run if she decides to do only one term-- which I think she should. That's where the energy of the Bernie fans should be directed, along with moving Congress and State offices back to Dem control. Show there really is a desire for that kind of change at the local level first.

And Elizabeth Warren is the person with the temperament to be a czar, not Bernie. Maybe Biden could do election reform and Warren finance.

(BTW, I am not optimistic that the US public has any interest in real change-- it is far more conservative in the non-political sense than energized partisans on either side like to think.)

For some the explanation you give in your first paragraph is certainly true, but not for all, and in general I think that a lack of political awareness is more typical of Trump than of Sanders supporters. Here we're talking about the –as I see it – generally better informed Sanders supporters who declare that they would rather support Trump than Clinton. If they claim that Trump and Sanders are similar enough to justify them voting for Trump, it could be because they're so invested in Sanders, and so politically inexperienced and immature that they can't imagine voting for the person who beat their hero, and find it inconvenient to examine whether the posited similarity holds water.

By cosmicomics (not verified) on 29 Mar 2016 #permalink

Keep in mind that some who declare that they would rather support Trump than Clinton may be saying that as a form of blackmail: "You'd better join me in voting for Sanders or I'll nullify your vote for Clinton by voting for Trump!"

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 29 Mar 2016 #permalink

Another problem with these polls, beyond the half-year of hell-raising still awaiting us, is the question of location.

It don't mean diddly if a frustrated Sandersista in Texas or Massachusetts pulls the red lever in November. It might mean everything if one too many does so in a swing state such as Florida or Ohio.

By Pierce R. Butler (not verified) on 29 Mar 2016 #permalink

That's really worrying. Seen a few people saying this in various blogs and responded to one the other day by saying that de facto made them a Trump or Cruz voter. Which it does. And responsible - at least in some small part for the catastrophes and misery that will certainly follow.

I really hope people in American have learnt the lessons of the 2000 US election with "Dubya" Bush the lesser vs Gore and vs Nader. How different the world might've been had Gore been (more) convincingly elected instead..

Greg @ 17: spot-on.

My strategy is to vote for the most-progressive candidate on the ballot who has any chance of getting elected. In the primary that means "Birdie," and in the general that will probably mean Hillary, and under no circumstances does it ever mean a 3d party or indie candidate, or a spite vote or a non vote. A strong primary showing for Birdie translates to giving Hillary either permission or a nudge (depending on how you view her) to move a little to the left, and every centimeter counts.

Donal @ 9: Yes they're both populists, but one of them is also a Benito Mussolini clone come back to life. You could try telling your friends who are thinking of casting a spite vote, that if they are hit by government policy or the resulting economic hardship, you will give them no help or support whatsoever, and they will have to deal with the consequences of their actions on their own.

The entire idea "make it worse to bring it on" is "revolution over _someone else's_ dead body," while the perpetrators of that outcome watch smugly from the sidelines. It's cowardly, it's immoral, and it's evil because it involves calculated cruelty to others. People who spite-vote or refuse to vote are directly causing avoidable suffering, and they deserve to be shunned by their social circles: shut out altogether.

Plus two more Supreme Court Justices and plus two degrees Celsius, make this election far too critical for playing asinine games.

The video that Donal referred to in #18 illustrates Sanders's strengths and weaknesses. His criticisms of America's political and economic system are usually valid, and his proposals would improve the lives of many Americans. If I were able to vote, I would vote for either Democrat in the general election, and I would probably vote for Sanders in a primary, but I would do so with misgivings. I'm not convinced he'd be a good or effective president. In the interview Sanders was asked what demands he would make if he lost. With what I unfortunately have come to see as a fairly typical example of Sanders's lack of realism, he more or less demanded that a winning Clinton adopt his platform. As Donal inadvertently showed, some Sanders supporters are so immature and so extreme that even something as unheard of as this wouldn't be enough for them.

My perspective on the general election is this:

“The damaging climate consequences of carbon emissions will grow and persist for millennia without a dramatic new global energy strategy, according to a new set of research-based climate change scenarios developed by an international team of scientists.
Rising global temperatures, ice field and glacial melting and rising sea levels are among the climatic changes that could ultimately lead to the submergence of coastal areas that are home to 1.3 billion people today, according to the report, published online by the journal Nature Climate Change.”
https://www.bc.edu/bc-web/bcnews/science-tech-and-health/earth-environm…- sustainability/climate-change-impact-report.html

Compared to this all other issues are consequential to the extent that they affect it. Single payer healthcare would be an advance, but if not enacted now, it could be enacted later. Action on climate change can't wait. We have already waited too long and we have already ensured that the future climate will be less amenable to existing life forms. We may already have triggered catastrophic tipping points. According to a group of climate scientists who have evaluated the presidential candidates, the differences between Clinton and Sanders are inconsiderable, but there's a chasm between them and their Republican opponents.

Click on Clinton. Then click See the candidate’s statements annotated by scientists. Then do the same with Trump. I have no doubt that some Sanders supporters, desperately in need of new brains for old, will still find convoluted ways to argue that there's no difference.

By cosmicomics (not verified) on 30 Mar 2016 #permalink

The asinine game is asking the working class to support the lesser of two evils for the benefit of the comfortable class, then watch as more living wage jobs are replaced by minimum wage and part time. Populism isn't going away, so a vote for Clinton is also a vote for the next strongman to come down the pike. And as far as Climate Change, 'clean' coal initiatives and half a billion unsustainably-manufactured Chinese solar panels don't reassure me.
doesn't have to

This is primarily about the decline of the American coal industry, but it also shows how vulnerable Clinton is to lies and distortions:

I wonder if the anyone-but-Clinton Sanders supporters found the distortions so amenable to their confirmation bias that they here made common cause with the most reactionary elements of the American media, and the coal industry.

By cosmicomics (not verified) on 30 Mar 2016 #permalink

So, I've asked many times in different venues, so far with no answer:

Let's stop going back and forth on personalities and generalities, and discuss actual policies. Can anyone who is immersed in the Bernie campaign explain what all these great jobs the "job creator" is talking about are going to be? I ask the same of the Trump people; the results are likewise crickets.

Does anyone have the most basic understanding of economics and the intricacies of manufacturing? If we stop trading with Vietnam, are all these Bernie kids with college degrees/debt going to work on shrimp farms? Or Bangladesh-- let's see, these 50 year old white males for Trump are going to take up sewing t-shirts?

Look, the only solution is infrastructure and particularly changing the energy consumption/extraction paradigm. That means getting a SCOTUS that will not block EPA, and a Congress that will fund the effort.

Ain't gonna happen with lots of histrionic bickering.

Donal #31,

Show me the money.

I'm not "immersed in" anything aside from being a Bernie voter, but my belief is that no government has the power to create private-sector jobs; however, the choice of what regulations are placed on the market - there is NO such thing as a "free market" - certainly affects the number and type of jobs. This country built its domestic economy, many decades ago, partly with tariffs and protectionism. When you make it easier for the superrich to move jobs to low-wage countries with no environmental protections, import the goods made there and suck up the profits, they do so more often. It really is true that NAFTA cost American jobs.

You can sneer all you like about Bernie or Trump supporters working on shrimp farms or making T-shirts if we moved back towards protectionism, but what would be so terrible about that? Food and clothing are real needs. It happens that many of the manufacturing jobs that have been lost to outsourcing in the past few decades were in the textile and clothing industries. Those may not have been jobs you wish to do, but the people who lost them felt that they were worse off working 29 hours a week at a Mall-Wart, stocking shelves with clothes made in Asia that were cheaper, yet that they couldn't afford to buy.

Just saw today a figure that the 50th percentile male worker in America now makes about 4% less, adjusted for inflation, than in the early 1970s, whereas the 95th percentile worker makes over 50% more. The below-average-income worker is even worse off. Meanwhile, the expectations for spending have gotten much higher. It's not a pinko-lefty myth that forty years ago, the average blue-collar worker could support a family, have a house and a car and a few amenities. This was fact.

zebra: Tax "The 10%". More than enough. May need to cut it back to "The 1%", even.

The more important question you should be asking however, is "What will it cost if we don't repair and maintain our infrastructure."

The common thinking of "Oh, it will take care of itself" is bankrupt. The bills are coming due...

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 30 Mar 2016 #permalink

Brainstorms #34,

Show me the votes.

jane #33,

We need people who actually know how things work to make progress on progressive goals. You seem to get your ideas from blogs that are just as inaccurate as those dedicated to denying climate change.

Of course government can create private-sector jobs. Probably half the budget consists of defense spending, and a very big part of that consists of buying stuff from private companies. You didn't know that?

And it's true that in the past, a White Male could support a family. But you obviously don't know history beyond that little factoid. He could do that because women and minorities were excluded from the workforce. It had nothing to do with trade deals; all those guys defected from the Democrats when their unions (or connections) no longer provided them with a privileged position. That decline started long before NAFTA.

In those "glory days", men worked in unsafe factories that spewed out gross levels of pollution, consumed absurd amounts of energy, and produced really crappy products like autos and appliances that fell apart after a few years.

Personally, I have no desire to return to that Golden Age. We need people in office who can move us forward, and that means wheeling and dealing and compromising, not making grandiose and impractical promises.

Heh! Ad hominem as a primary form of argument, false dichotomy, chronological snobbery - did I miss any?

There is a distinction between jobs supported by government spending of tax dollars, which may fund work done by government employees or (usually to our detriment) by contracted for-profit corporations, and jobs supported by individuals' economic activity. If a highway is repaired by a government employee or by a private company hired by the government, either way, it's government spending. If I pay the same private company to pave my driveway, that's private sector. You didn't know that???

Though there are scholarly studies on the detrimental effects of NAFTA that Hillary can't simply wish away, the grain of truth in what you say is that in the past, minorities and women were both discriminated against and underpaid, so wage-class black folks were much worse off than wage-class white folks. Economically, I do not accept that the gap could only have been lessened by reducing the latter to poverty wages as well. Politically, you can hardly expect that a white male who grew up in a stable, secure blue-collar household, who now sees his own family facing lifelong insecurity, will be adequately consoled by: "Your kids' poverty will be no worse than lots of black Americans have suffered for generations, so suck it up." It is not racist to wish that you could be sure of having a roof over your head this time next year. If you offer such a man no chance of restoring what he thinks of as a normal life, he will vote for someone who does. You might not like the outcome.

"Sanders pushed back against the 'Bernie or Bust' mentality last weekend, reminding supporters that it is 'absolutely imperative' to keep a Republican out of the Oval Office. Even Dawson, who delivered the night’s sharpest barbs against Clinton, chided the crowd when they booed the front-runner’s name. Later, after assuring the Sandersistas that they don’t 'have to vote for Hillary,' she immediately stipulated, 'this isn’t the general election. This is the primary.' ”

"It sounds partisan to say, but it remains true: The fate of humanity rests to a very large degree on keeping the Republican Party out of power for as long as possible."

"When Al Gore ran against George W. Bush in 2000, some claimed that a vote for Gore was almost the same as a vote for Bush and encouraged people to cast protest votes for Ralph Nader. Sarandon supported Nader during that election. Bush became president, and what did we get? Two incredibly young, incredibly conservative justices, John G. Roberts Jr. and Samuel A. Alito Jr., who will be on the court for decades, and two wars — in Afghanistan and Iraq — that, together, lasted over a decade."

You also got 8 years of climate inaction, tax cuts for the rich – including a temporary elimination of the estate tax – and the great recession. The Republican Party today is worse than the Party of 2000. Enabling a Republican victory or refusing to secure as big a Democratic victory as possible by not voting would be an act of incomparable stupidity.

By cosmicomics (not verified) on 01 Apr 2016 #permalink

...would be an act of incomparable treason.

There. Fixed that for ya. :^)

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 01 Apr 2016 #permalink

I wish you wouldn't say that. It's objectively true that voting for the GOP will harm the nation, but yelling "treason" at anyone whose political beliefs or values vary from one's own is an ugly right-wing habit.

Jane, you misinterpreted #41. Perhaps I should have lengthened the quote -- by two words:

... not voting would be an act of incomparable treason.

I, for one, would vote yea on a law to make voting mandatory, with financial penalties for failing to do so, and/or financial incentive for "doing one's civil duty".

I am/was not saying anything about WHAT they vote on/for. Vote your political beliefs, by all means. But VOTE, dammit, VOTE ! You betray the nation you live in if you don't. No excuses!

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 02 Apr 2016 #permalink

The reason for the "throwing under a bus" is that Clinton has never met a war that she did not enthusiastically support; and Trump has declared that he would not provoke war with Russia. Clinton has been endorsed by Ms "the sacrifice was worth it" Albright herself.

Clinton, simply, has a great deal of blood on her hands. Mainly the blood of poor, brown people. A number of left-leaning voters feel that that's more important than her second X chromosome.

By Paul Murray (not verified) on 05 Apr 2016 #permalink