Democratic candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is swinging and fighting back against polls that named frontrunner Hillary Clinton the winner of the second Democratic primary debate hosted by CBS News on Saturday evening, Nov. 14, 2015 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Sanders campaign claimed on Sunday evening, Nov. 15 that the senator received the most social media buzz and accused the mainstream media poll of declaring Clinton the winner did so because it is backed by her Super PAC. Sanders won the public voted instant polls include Time Magazine’s web survey taken just after the debate.
Sanders campaign spokesman Michael Briggs came out swinging against Clinton accusing the Public Policy Polling survey of being “bought and paid for by a Clinton super PAC.” Public Policy Polling did conduct the poll for Correct The Record which is “a strategic research and rapid response team designed to defend Hillary Clinton from baseless attacks.”
After the debate, the poll conducted Public Policy Polling named Clinton the debate winner, saying 67 percent “of voters think Clinton won the debate,” only 20 percent said Bernie Sanders won and just 7 percent said Martin O’Malley won the debate. The poll was overwhelmingly pro-Clinton also found that 63 percent “said the debate gave them a more positive opinion of Clinton.” Trailing was Sanders, with 41 percent of voters having a more positive opinion of the Vermont senator from the debate. The poll also found that that 75 percent of voters trusted Clinton the most on national security, with only 17 percent saying the same about Sanders. Public Policy Polling asked 500 American voters their perception about the debate.
Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling denied that the poll was rigged in Clinton’s favor. Jensen responded to the media in an email sent Sunday evening, “Most polls are conducted for paying clients, it doesn’t impact how they’re conducted.” Jensen defended his poll by saying CBS News found similar results in their post debate poll, and that they are conducted with scientific methods. Jensen said, “Our polls and theirs were the only scientific polls done on the debate that I’m aware of and were in agreement that it was a big win for Secretary Clinton.”
CBS News’ poll did have similar results giving Clinton a resounding victory with 51 percent of voters saying so, with Sanders a distant second with 28 percent and O’Malley with 7 percent, while 14 percent said the debate was a tie between Clinton and Sanders. Democrats two to one voted for Clinton, and independents were “split between Clinton and Sanders.” Clinton was also trusted more on the issues 60 percent trusted her on national security and foreign policy, with only 25 percent trusting Sanders on the that issue. It was more evenly split when it came to the economy, but they trusted Sanders two to one on income inequality. CBS News used a sample of 674 voters for the poll.
Sanders however, topped all snap polls and he was considered the winner by social media. Sanders won the debate according to TIME’s online poll, of the 79,000 people who voted, 80 percent declared Sanders in the winner, Clinton was a very distant second with only 15 percent while O’Malley only received five percent of the votes. Sanders also won according to the “left leaning” Slate’s online poll where he garnered 81 percent of the votes, with Clinton receiving only 13 percent followed by O’Malley with only three percent. Even the conservative Washington Times had Sanders the winner of the debate, with 88 percent of respondents voting for Sanders, while only eight percent voted for Clinton and a mere three percent said O’Malley.
Considering some of Clinton’s comments during the debate it is easy to argue that the public got it right declaring Sanders the winner. There are certain comments Clinton made that will come back to haunt her. About Wall Street she responded to Sanders accusation that of “Why over her political career has Wall Street been a major – the major – contributor to Hillary Clinton?” Clinton justified Sanders’ remark by invoking 9/11, saying, “It was good for the economy, and it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country.” The comment caused a negative reaction from Twitter, and Republicans quickly picked up on it.
Clinton also refused to use the term ‘Radical Islamists’ saying, “We are not at war with Islam or Muslims. We are at war with violent extremism. We are at war with people who use their religion for purposes of power and oppression…But I don’t want us to be painting with too broad a brush.” Clinton’s biggest mistake however, was emphasizing her age saying she is “from the ’60s.” Clinton, 68 was young as First Lady in the 1990s, but now she seems from another age or era, one that past with the first Clinton presidency, and it is showing with Clinton have problems connecting with millennials.
Sanders shone during the debate attacking Clinton on her vote for the Iraq War, and her ties with Wall Street. On the Iraq War Sanders blamed that it led to the rise of ISIS, “I don’t think any sensible person would disagree that the invasion of Iraq led to the massive level of instability we are seeing right now. I think that was one of the worst foreign policy blunders in the modern history of the United States.”
Sanders also accused Clinton of being tied to Wall Street, “I have never heard a candidate, never, who has received huge amounts of money from oil, from coal, from Wall Street from the military industrial complex, not one candidate — ‘Oh these, these campaign contributions will not influence me.’ But why do they make millions of dollars of campaign contributions? They expect to get something, everybody knows that.” Still Sanders could have attacked Clinton on her record as Secretary of State especially since the debate focused on foreign policy coming just after the Paris terror attacks.
Meanwhile Sanders spokesman Briggs was also asked “Are you concerned about the scientific accuracy of the PPP poll?” Briggs held firm about voters not knowing the poll results could be swayed because the Super PAC paid for the poll. Briggs said, “I’m just suggesting that your readers might be in a better position to consider the source if they knew that ‘poll’ was paid for by a PAC supporting one of the candidates.”
Sanders spokesman is right, the media declaring Clinton the debate winner is becoming a pattern. They did the same after the first Democratic primary debate; an MSNBC hosted “Democratic Forum,” held on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C. After that debate Sanders was declared the winner of the debate by social media and all the instant polls, but the mainstream media crowned Clinton the winner.
Sanders has been battling the mainstream media for a long time already. In 2005, he criticized them saying, “[T]he corporate media is certainly one of the main factors in the depoliticalization of our country and the low level of political consciousness.” In contrast, Hillary Clinton is the mainstream, corporate media’s darling, this election cycle they have been loving her, even her email scandal, and the fact that she might have endangered national security and broken law with the private email server she used as Secretary of State is on the backburner by most outlets.
The snap polls had thousands of respondents voting, but the official media polls from Public Policy Polling and CBS News included less than 700 voters with their scientific methods, however, they are considered the official word with the ability to declare the debate’s winner. The mainstream media is ignoring the voice of thousands of voters who will be the ones going to the polls and determining who will be the Democratic Party’s nominee. The media’s treatment of Sanders allows one to question whether all polls are trying to skewer their results in Clinton’s favor because they prefer her as the nominee. After all the media was always quick to forgive Hilary’s husband former president Bill Clinton and his scandal filled presidency.