From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt . . .
Feel the Fading Bern
Briefly Wednesday night, the political world gasped at a surprising poll result, suggesting Bernie Sanders isn’t an afterthought…
The latest CNN/WMUR poll of New Hampshire’s likely Democratic primary voters tells a different story than that of national and Iowa polling, where Clinton holds double-digit leads.
The poll finds 50% of likely Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire back Sanders, 40% Clinton, 1% former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.
This New Hampshire poll does show a narrower margin for Sanders, however, with the Democratic field trimmed to just three candidates. Clinton has gained 10 points since September, when Vice President Joe Biden took 14% of the vote in the last CNN/WMUR Poll. Over that same time, Sanders has gained 4 points.
Don’t start cranking up L’Internationale quite yet. In Iowa, Hillary’s up by 14 in the RCP average. Maybe because of the quirks of the low turnout in a caucus, that could tighten up, but since late October, Hillary’s numbers have jumped from the 40s to the mid-to-high 50s and stayed there. Sanders was tied there in early September, now he’s lost ground. There’s always room for late polling changes, but the history for outspoken, anti-war, hard-left Vermont Democrats in Iowa isn’t good. Howard Dean led the polls in Iowa until the final week and then he collapsed to third place. And that was before the “YEARRRGH!” scream.
Then it’s on to New Hampshire. Sure, maybe Sanders can win there; he’s helped by the geographical closeness. But that will also cause some people to dismiss a Sanders victory as virtual home-state advantage. Then it’s on to South Carolina, where Hillary leads by roughly#..#50 points.
Nationally, Hillary leads Sanders by about 25 points. She hasn’t been below 50 percent in any poll among Democrats since mid-October. Sanders has indicated repeatedly that he won’t criticize her about her personal e-mail server, and he’s indicated several times in recent days he doesn’t want to talk about ISIS much because it’s a distraction from his domestic agenda.
Bernie Sanders isn’t running to become president. He’s running to become George McGovern — the icon that inspires a generation of activists after him. He’s not interested in the war on terror, national security, or foreign policy in general. He’s interested in that darn one percent and assuring people that the reason they don’t have enough money is because the ‘millyunahs and billyunahs,’ as he calls them, are somehow taking it from them.