DES MOINES, Iowa – Bernie Sanders gives Democrats the best chance to win the White House in 2016 because he performs significantly better than Hillary Clinton against Republican presidential candidates.
“Sanders runs markedly better than Clinton” against Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, the leaders in their party’s field of candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire, according to a memo by Sanders’ pollster Ben Tulchin.
The analysis of public polling on the White House race also yielded these key points:
Sanders is viewed more favorably by Americans than any other candidate for president from either party.
He is regarded as the most honest and trustworthy candidate of either party.
Sanders is popular with independents while Clinton fares poorly with that bloc of critical swing voters in general elections.
He is very popular with younger voters and can galvanize them to turn out, helping Democrats up and down the ticket.
Republicans favor Sanders far more than Clinton.
Sanders popularity is largely due to his positive reputation. “Sanders enjoys the most positive profile of any 2016 contender and would begin a fall campaign with room to grow,” according to Tulchin. His memo cites a new Field Poll in California which found Sanders’ favorability was greater than Clinton’s by a margin of 15 points.
While most voters view Sanders as honest and trustworthy, two recent polls found that Clinton is distrusted slightly more than Trump. A December Quinnipiac University poll found Trump was distrusted by 58 percent of voters. Fifty-nine percent distrusted Clinton. The Economist/YouGov poll from the same time found Trump distrusted by 50 percent of voters and 52 percent distrusted Clinton.
Sanders also is the strongest Democrat against the leading Republican candidates. “The main factor responsible for Sanders’ superior performance against Trump is that the senator from Vermont performs much better with independents,” according to Tulchin. The Quinnipiac University poll found Sanders beating Trump by 14 points with independents, while Clinton beat Trump by only 2 points with independents, a critical bloc in general elections.
Young voters remain a key to Sanders’ strength. Notably, Tulchin wrote, Quinnipiac found that voters under age 35 view Sanders favorably by a 44-point margin (58 percent favorable to 14 percent unfavorable) while CNN found he was viewed favorably by voters in that age group by a 32-point margin (55 percent favorable to 23 percent unfavorable).
In a new Fox News poll released on Friday, Sanders is ahead of Hillary Clinton 50 percent to 37 percent among New Hampshire Democratic primary voters. Sanders lengthened his lead since November, when he was up by just one point (45 percent to 44 percent). Sanders outpolled Clinton in head-to-head matchups against the leading Republican candidates in another new poll in New Hampshire released on Friday by Public Policy Polling. Sanders averaged nine points better than Clinton in the general election match ups. He defeated Trump by 20 points.