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Polling Trajectory Shows Bernie Sanders Winning the Democratic Nomination. It's Time for America to Notice.

09/01/2015 09:33 am ET | Updated Dec 11, 2015
  • H. A. Goodman Columnist published in The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Baltimore Sun, The Hill, Salon, The Jerusalem Post www.hagoodman.com

When Sarah Silverman introduced Senator Bernie Sanders to an energized crowd of 27,500 people in Los Angeles, POLITICO ran a piece that same day titled Clinton asks staff to turn over email server, thumb drive. On the day Bernie Sanders drew a crowd of 4,500 supporters in Reno, Hillary Clinton answered a question with the now legendary statement, "What, like with a cloth or something?" Several days after Bernie defeated Hillary in the informal Iowa State Fair poll, The New York Times ran a headline with the words, Judge Says Hillary Clinton Didn't Follow Government Email Policies.

There are countless other examples illustrating the different trajectories of both Democratic challengers, and nationwide polls are finally beginning to reflect this reality. Even FiveThirtyEight now says We Got Berned, and while concerns about name recognition and polling among minority voters still exist, only Bernie Sanders has a Racial Justice platform praised by Black Lives Matter, and only Vermont's Senator has the support of Cornell West, Killer Mike, and Lil B.

Senator Bernie Sanders will win the Democratic nomination in 2016 not only because he can type an email without nationwide controversy, but also because he's exhibited a monumental surge in the polls. This ascent within the hearts and minds of Democrats began several months ago, and will only continue with greater name recognition.

According to HuffPost Pollster, Clinton's lead over Sanders among Democrats was an astounding 60.2 percent to a mere 5 percent on March 2, 2015. By August 26, 2015 Bernie Sanders surged all the way to 23.4 percent while Clinton fell to 47.1 percent. America should finally start to notice a political "revolution" in the making, especially since most Americans still don't know much about Sanders, yet he still continues to rise in the polls.

Once he's given the attention he deserves from media and political pundits, Bernie Sanders will become even more popular among voters. In a matter of months, he surpassed Clinton in New Hampshire. Sanders is now within 7 points of Clinton in Iowa and the Vermont "socialist" beats Trump easily in a general election. While Sanders has drawn crowds totaling over 100,000 people, Hillary Clinton is forced to discuss the FBI's investigation of her emails. In terms of momentum, which is the most important aspect of ever-changing polls, Bernie Sanders is on his way to overtaking a Clinton campaign embroiled in controversy.

As for the defense that Clinton faces a double standard, or that Republicans also deleted emails, there are two issues ignored by supporters of the former Secretary of State. First, this email scandal (and perhaps other issues) might have contributed to the 55 percent of voters who have an "unfavorable" view of Clinton. Compared side by side, Bernie Sanders earns better favorability marks according to HuffPost Pollster:

Hillary Clinton Favorable Rating
Asked of 897 registered voters
Favorable 43%
Unfavorable 55%
Not Heard Enough 1%
Undecided 1%

Bernie Sanders Favorable Rating
Asked of 897 registered voters
Favorable 36%
Unfavorable 29%
Not Heard Enough 25%
Undecided 8%

Real or fabricated, nobody can dispute the fact that Clinton is drawn to controversy, or vice versa. Simply claiming a right wing conspiracy for every scandal won't win the White House, nor will dodging relevant questions pertaining to why a Secretary of State (and yes, this is unprecedented) would need her own private server, rather than a government server. This is a legitimate question, and asking it doesn't mean a person dislikes Hillary Clinton.

Second, swing state voters do not trust Hillary Clinton according to CNN. An August 20th Quinnipiac University Poll confirms this claim and found that voters in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania do not find Hillary Clinton honest or trustworthy. In fact, Quinnipiac University states "Clinton and Trump have the worst overall favorability ratings among all voters of any of the leading candidates, and the lowest scores for being honest and trustworthy."

In addition, a recent Des Moines Register article titled Iowa Poll: Clinton leads, but Sanders draws near highlights exactly why Bernie Sanders is surging while Clinton is struggling to maintain a once enormous lead:

But Clinton has lost a third of her supporters since May, a trajectory that if sustained puts her at risk of losing again in Iowa, the initial crucible in the presidential nominating contest.

This is the first time Clinton, the former secretary of state and longtime presumptive front-runner, has dropped below the 50 percent mark in four polls conducted by the Register and Bloomberg Politics this year.

"This feels like 2008 all over again," said J. Ann Selzer, pollster for the Iowa Poll.

In this cycle, Sanders is attracting more first-time caucusgoers than Clinton. He claims 43 percent of their vote compared to 31 percent for Clinton. He also leads by 23 percentage points with the under-45 crowd and by 21 points among independent voters.

Sanders, a Vermont U.S. senator, has become a liberal Pied Piper in Iowa not as a vote against Clinton, but because caucusgoers genuinely like him, the poll shows. An overwhelming 96 percent of his backers say they support him and his ideas. Just 2 percent say they're motivated by opposition to Clinton.

Like The Des Moines Register states, Bernie supporters aren't motivated by a dislike of Clinton, but rather by overwhelming support for the policies advocated by Vermont's Senator. Most importantly, Sanders leads Clinton by 23 points with the "under-45 crowd" and by 21 points among independents. Nothing epitomizes the Bernie Sanders campaign better than the words, "This feels like 2008 all over again."

Finally, 2008 will serve as a model for Democrats in 2016, primarily because Hillary Clinton is once again battling a competitor widely acknowledged to be more liberal than the former Secretary of State. One look back at CNN's transcript of the South Carolina debate between Clinton and Obama highlights why Sanders will win the upcoming Democratic debates and Democratic nomination:

How do you respond to that charge?

OBAMA: What she said wasn't true. We account for every single dollar that we propose.

Now, this, I think, is one of the things that's happened during the course of this campaign, that there's a set of assertions made by Senator Clinton, as well as her husband, that are not factually accurate.

And I think that part of what the people are looking for right now is somebody who's going to solve problems and not resort to the same typical politics that we've seen in Washington.

(APPLAUSE)

That is something that I hear all across the country. So when Senator Clinton says -- or President Clinton says that I wasn't opposed to the war from the start or says it's a fairytale that I opposed the war, that is simply not true.

When Senator Clinton or President Clinton asserts that I said that the Republicans had had better economic policies since 1980, that is not the case...

OBAMA: Hillary, we just had the tape. You just said that I complimented the Republican ideas. That is not true.

...CLINTON: Now, I just -- I just want to be clear about this. In an editorial board with the Reno newspaper, you said two different things, because I have read the transcript. You talked about Ronald Reagan being a transformative political leader. I did not mention his name.

OBAMA: Your husband did.

CLINTON: Well, I'm here. He's not. And...

OBAMA: OK. Well, I can't tell who I'm running against sometimes.

(APPLAUSE)

In 2008, Obama simply had to refute Clinton's claims by stating her words weren't "factually accurate," "simply not true," and "that is not the case." Obama's debate strategy in 2008 reflects Quinnipiac polls in 2015.

Today, it's Bernie Sanders filling in for 2008's Senator Obama, and Democrats will once again see a centrist Clinton debate a genuine progressive about Iraq and other contentious issues. This time, however, there's a Democratic debate schedule most likely rigged to protect Clinton from endless focus on emails and servers. Regardless, Bernie Sanders will become the Democratic nominee, primarily because people trust him and polls are finally beginning to reflect the energy and momentum of his campaign. When Americans are actually using their obituaries, asking mourners to support Sanders or not to vote for Hillary Clinton, there's a momentum in the Sanders campaign that simply can't be measured by numbers.

Also on HuffPost:

Bernie Sanders On The Campaign Trail

CONVERSATIONS