In the last presidential election, the fans of Bernie Sanders made the argument that he was more electable than Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. They based this on his favorable ratings with the general electorate, which were higher than his Democratic opponent. Sanders maintained fairly high favorability ratings with all voters even into 2018.
But that may be changing. Sanders’ popularity among all voters seems to be declining considerably in the last few months.
A new CNN poll puts Sanders favorable rating at 46% compared to an unfavorable rating of 45% among registered voters. This is just one of the latest polls to have Sanders at basically even in his net favorability rating (favorable-unfavorable). A Quinnipiac University poll from late December gave the Vermont senator a net favorability of just +2 points. An average of all the recent polls put Sanders’ net favorability at about -1 points.
At the end of 2016, when Sanders was at the end of his 2016 presidential run, he had a 59% favorable rating to 36% unfavorable rating among all voters in a CNN poll taken in June of 2016. He was able to hold onto much of his popularity through last year. A CNN poll taken in early December 2018 gave him a +13 net favorability rating with all voters. And a Gallup poll in September 2018 had him at a +15 net favorability rating with all adults.
What has changed? Some are arguing that the Vermont senator is benefiting from not being in a competitive campaign. If you are not being thought of a viable threat to win a party’s nomination, opponents tend to lay off.
The good news for Sanders is that his net favorability rating is at about the same level as the other people who have declared their candidacy for the Democratic nomination.
Do you think this will change the plans that Sanders has for his presidential bid?