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In Nearly Every Blue, Purple, and Light-Red State, Bernie Sanders Polls Better Against Trump Than Hillary Clinton

03/07/2016 11:27 am ET | Updated Mar 07, 2016
  • Seth Abramson Attorney; Assistant Professor, UNH; Poet; Editor, Best American Experimental Writing

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While the national media's continued use of "super-delegates" in its delegate tallies, against the advice and demand of the Democratic National Committee, may give the impression that Hillary Clinton has built an insurmountable lead over Bernie Sanders, two recent developments have put a significant dent in that storyline: first, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has joined the Democratic National Committee's call to stop tallying super-delegates; second, Sanders supporters have begun disseminating polling data showing that Sanders runs much better against likely Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, than does Clinton.

According to the most recent state-by-state polling collected by RealClearPolitics, a top polling aggregator, these are the blue, purple, and light-red states in which Bernie Sanders runs better against Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton:

  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Minnesota
  • North Carolina
  • New Hampshire
  • Ohio
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

And here are the blue, purple, and light-red states in which Hillary Clinton runs better against Donald Trump than does Bernie Sanders:

  • Florida

Clinton's advantage on Sanders in Florida is by a single point, within that poll's 3.1% margin of error.

While it's rather early to start looking at general election polling, because candidates from both major parties have started to do so -- claiming that they, and not their opponent(s), can defeat the likely nominee from the other party -- it's worth noting that, at present, the available data from the Democratic side of the equation show Bernie Sanders as a stronger general-election candidate against the likely Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, than Hillary Clinton.

Whether this will become a point of contention on the campaign trail remains unclear.

Seth Abramson is the Series Editor for Best American Experimental Writing (Wesleyan University) and the author, most recently, of DATA (BlazeVOX, 2016).

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