Sunday, January 26, 2020


There are two ways of looking at this:
Only a small majority of Bernie Sanders voters say they will definitely support the eventual Democratic nominee at the 2020 election if the independent Vermont senator does not win the race, according to a poll.

The National Emerson College Poll of 1,128 registered voters between January 21 and January 23 found that 53 percent of Sanders supporters said "yes" when asked if they would support the Democratic nominee even if it is not their candidate.

Another 31 percent of Sanders supporters said it depends on who the nominee is and 16 percent flat-out said no....

By comparison to Sanders, 87 percent of former vice president Joe Biden's supporters said yes to voting for whoever wins the nomination, 9 percent it depends on the winning candidate, and 5 percent said no to anyone that is not Biden.

And 90 percent of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren's supporters said they would vote for whoever is the nominee, while the remaining 10 percent said it depended on who won the nomination.

None of Warren's supporters said they would not vote for the eventual nominee if she loses the Democratic race.
One way to respond to this is to be furious at the Sanders absolutists. How dare they! They'd risk four more years of Trump because their candidate lost!

The other way is to say: Well, maybe we should nominate Sanders, because in November we'd keep his voters and nearly all the voters who preferred the other Democratic candidates. He'd be the unity candidate!

I prefer to look on the bright side, because it seems increasingly likely that Sanders will win both Iowa and New Hampshire -- the New York Times/Siena poll gives him a 7-point lead in Iowa, while he has a 9-point lead in New Hampshire according to CNN and a 5-point lead according to NBC/Marist.

There's polling to suggest -- contrary to what you'd think if you spend way too much time on the Internet -- that Sanders is the unity candidate: In the most recent national CNN poll (in which Sanders has a 3-point lead over Joe Biden), a Sanders nomination inspires the highest level of enthusiasm among Democratic voters, and the highest combined levels of enthusiasm and satisfaction. Here's the question wording:
Next I'm going to read the names of some of the Democratic candidates for president and ask how you would
feel if each of them won the Democratic presidential nomination. As I read each name, please tell me whether you would feel enthusiastic, satisfied but not enthusiastic, dissatisfied but not upset, or upset if that person were the Democratic nominee.
Here are the numbers:
Sanders: enthusiastic 38%, satisfied but not enthusaistic 39%, total 77%

Biden: enthusiastic 34%, satisfied but not enthusaistic 38%, total 72%

Warren: enthusiastic 29%, satisfied but not enthusaistic 43%, total 72%

Buttigieg: enthusiastic 24%, satisfied but not enthusaistic 35%, total 59%

Klobuchar: enthusiastic 14%, satisfied but not enthusaistic 40%, total 54%

Bloomberg: enthusiastic 15%, satisfied but not enthusaistic 38%, total 52%
Maybe endorsements will change the course of the race -- though I'm skeptical. The Des Moines Register just endorsed Elizabeth Warren, and the New Hampshire Union Leader just endorsed Klobuchar. But the Register has a mixed record of picking caucus winners, and has picked only one winning presidential candidate since 1988: George W. Bush in 2000. It picked Bob Dole and Paul Simon in 1988, no one in the 1992 Democratic contest, and Bill Bradley, John Edwards, and Hillary Clinton in the Democratic contests in 2000, 2004, and 2008. Marco Rubio was the Register's Republican pick in 2016. The Union Leader's past GOP picks have included Chris Christie in 2016, Newt Gingrich in 2012, Steve Forbes in 2000, Pat Buchanan in 1992 and 1996, and Pete du Pont in 1988. So not exactly a bellwether.

The race might change again. I remember a brief moment in the 2012 campaign when it seemed reasonable to suppose that Newt Gingrich might be the Republican nominee. But Sanders looks strong right now. If you've categorically rejected him, I urge you to reconsider.

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