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By Robert A. Vella

In a new Bloomberg Politics poll conducted on June 14th, only 55% of Bernie Sanders supporters plan to vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton in November.  A further 5% said they might consider voting for her in the future.  22% said they are going to vote for Republican Donald Trump, and 18% favor Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson.

I’m a little skeptical of this poll because it didn’t mention those Sanders supporters who plan to vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, those who won’t choose any presidential candidate on the ballot, or those who might not vote at all.  However, it does appear to justify a centrist strategy for Clinton because aggregate polling over the last two weeks show her with substantial leads over Trump.  If this decisive margin is not coming from the political left (i.e. Sanders supporters), it must be coming from moderates and from Republican voters turned-off by the divisive Mr. Trump.

A centrist course for Clinton would seem fitting even considering the anti-establishment climate gripping the nation.  First, she got very lucky when Trump won the GOP primaries.  Second, enough Sanders supporters weren’t going to vote for her even if she ran to the left because they simply don’t trust her.  Third, and most important, Hillary and the Democratic Party leadership abandoned the progressive base now supporting Sanders a long time ago (see:  Thomas Frank on Clinton & Democratic Establishment: What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?).

Still, this snapshot of the American electorate only reflects their current mood which is likely to shift many times between now and November, and the upcoming events that will shape it have yet to unfold.

Further reading:  “Our Dreams Don’t Fit on Your Ballots”: Naomi Klein on Next Steps for Pro-Bernie Sanders Movement

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5 thoughts on “New poll of Sanders voters justifies centrist course for Clinton

  1. 22% voting for Trump? I’m skeptical of that, as well. Not voting, or voting for Stein, I can see, but Trump and Sanders are about as different as two humans can be. I just don’t see that many switching to Donnie.

  2. The significant question is worded, “If the general election were held today, and the candidates were [Hillary Clinton for the Democrats],
    [Donald Trump for the Republicans], and Gary Johnson for the Libertarian Party, for whom would you vote?”

    Jill Stein/Green Party was not offered as an option in the poll, but she certainly will be an option on the November ballot. Many Sanders supports consider Stein as Plan B (if Clinton is not indicted). I’m one of them.

    This poll isn’t trying to reflect political dynamics or probabilities, it aims to shape them. Along with that, when Stein is not included in polls, it diminishes her chance of being in the Presidential debates – and fewer people get to know her.

    The Establishment wishes there to be no more Progressives in the limelight. But the Political Revolution is not fading away, pays little heed to MSM, and will exert tremendous pressure on a Clinton Presidency. Clinton better use information beyond this poll to decide the direction of her next shift.

    • Very well put, JoAnn, and spot-on accurate.

      For this post, I set aside my progressive perspective and attempted to objectively assess the Clinton campaign strategy with respect to the likely composition of the electorate in November. Despite the Bloomberg poll’s problems, which I noted and you explained much more thoroughly, it did verify what has been suspected for some time – that Clinton’s appeal to progressives (i.e. Sanders supporters) is limited.

      Because she could not and would not want to expand the electorate to include progressive Millennials, Hillary’s best path to victory lays on a centrist course which appeals to moderate swing voters and Republicans opposed to Trump – IMO.

      I believe you are correct in asserting that the progressive Political Revolution won’t fade away. However, the disastrous 2014 midterm election finally convinced me that the ideological split between the Democratic Party establishment and its progressive base is irreparable. We are now a movement with little political representation.

      This unfortunate situation wouldn’t have happened had Millennials not dropped from the voter rolls so dramatically after Obama’s election in 2008. I too felt their disappointment at his performance in office, but if you don’t vote nobody in power will hear you speak.

      • Yes. That’s what’s great about the political revolution – voting to get Progressives elected to office, from local school boards to Congress.

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