Since July, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has attracted about 100,000 people to his speeches on the presidential campaign trail. Sanders has drawn the largest crowds of the 2016 presidential campaign and that has unexpectedly made him the chief rival to Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Last Sunday, for example, 28,000 people attended his rally at the Moda Center, in Portland, Oregon. Another 28,000 people attended his rally in Los Angeles later in the week. That’s a lot of people, especially when you consider 5,000 is the largest crowd Hillary Clinton has drawn,
Last Friday night Sanders summed it up this way as he spoke to an overflow crowd in high school auditorium in West Des Moines, Iowa. “What this campaign is doing is sending a loud and clear message to the billionaire class: And that is that their greed is destroying the United States of America, This country belongs to all of us — and not just a handful of billionaires.”
Maybe Sanders is drawing such huge, enthusiastic crowds because he is telling people what they want to hear from a presidential candidate. According to the Franklin Pierce University/Boston Herald poll, conducted August 7-10, Sanders now leads Clinton 44% to 37% among likely Democratic voters in New Hampshire. Sanders trailed Clinton by a 44-8 margin in a similar Franklin Pierce/Herald poll in March.
This is the first time the heavily favored Hillary Clinton has trailed in the 2016 primary campaign. The Franklin Pierce/Herald poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.7 percentage points, but Sanders’ lead in the poll exceeds that margin, so no matter how you parse the numbers, Sanders has jumped ahead of Hilary in New Hampshire, at least in that poll.
Nationally, Clinton still enjoys a sizable lead over Sanders in the polls. For example a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that Clinton had a 34 percentage point lead over Sanders. In that poll, Clinton was the top choice of 59% of national Democratic primary voters, while Sen. Bernie Sanders was the top choice of only 25%.
But even that poll had bad news for Hillary Clinton; her popularity has dropped sharply since the June NBC News/Wall Street Journal.
According to the most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, only 37% of Americans have a positive view of Clinton, while 48% of Americans have a negative view. In the June poll, 44% of Americans had a positive view of Clinton, while only 40% of Americans had a negative view. That’s a 4% drop in her favorability rating and an 8% jump in her unfavorability rating among all Americans.
But Hillary Clinton fares better among potential Democratic primary voters. A hefty 73% of Democratic primary voters have a positive view of Clinton, while only 13% have a negative view. However, in a CNN/ORC International poll conducted July 22-25, 2015, both Clinton and Sanders would defeat the Republican nominee regardless of who the Republican candidate is.In that poll, when asked who they would vote for in a Clinton – Bush race, 51% of the people interviewed said they would vote for Clinton while only 46% would vote for Bush. When asked who they would vote for in a Clinton – Trump race, 57% said they would vote for Clinton while only 38% would vote for Trump.
When asked who they would vote for in a Sanders – Bush race, 48% said they would vote for Sanders while 46% would vote for Bush. When asked who they would vote for in a Sanders – Trump race, 58% said they would vote for Sanders while only 38% would vote for Trump.
No wonder thousands of people a flocking to Bernie Sanders’ rallies.