Hillary Clinton has all but secured the Presidential nomination for the Democratic party in the next round of primary votes on June 7th, but doubts remain after a string of polls show Bernie Sanders stacking up better against Donald Trump in the fall.
In one week, Clinton went from having a comfortable advantage over Trump to falling behind the presumptive Republican nominee by 0.2 percent in the RealClearPolitics poll average.
Over the last month Trump has surged 11 percentage points against Clinton, with even the more favorable polls showing a shrinking margin between the two.
On the other hand, Sanders has maintained sizable margins against Trump, which will provide Sanders with the best argument and leverage going into the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this summer:
- A Fox News poll released May 18th has Trump up by 3 percent against Clinton—45-42, with Sanders up by 4 percent, 46-42.
- An ABC News/Washington Post poll shows Trump leading Clinton among registered voters, 46 percent to 44 percent, but doesn’t give a general matchup between Trump and Sanders.
- An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows Clinton leading Trump by 3 points, 46 percent to 43 percent. Sanders, on the other hand, had a commanding 15-point advantage, 54 percent to 39 percent.
- The HuffPost Pollster gives Clinton a less-than-2-point advantage over Trump, while Sanders leads Trump by 10 points.
Clinton, meanwhile, maintains a sizable lead against Bernie Sanders among Democrats—showing an 8.2 percent lead over Sanders on Real Clear Politics, and in the latest ABC/Washington Post poll a 14 percent difference.
“Virtually every poll taken in the last two months has me doing better against Trump than Hillary Clinton,” Sanders said on CNN on Sunday.
So, what gives? How can the runner-up in the Democratic primary poll be doing better than the front-runner against Donald Trump in a general election match-up?
Hillary Clinton’s response was to dismiss the polls, and gave an assured message for the fall election.
“They certainly mean nothing to me,” the Democratic front-runner said. “And I think if people go back and look, they really mean nothing in terms of analyzing what’s going to happen in the fall.”
An NBC poll from May 10th that showed Clinton with a 5 percent lead over Trump and Sanders with a 13 point lead over the presumptive Republican nominee pointed to two areas that Sanders has an advantage over Clinton against Trump: young Republican voters and Independent voters.
About 30 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters under 30 would vote for Sanders over Trump, with only 18 percent voting for Clinton.
For Independents, about 52 percent would vote for Sanders over Trump, while 37 percent—falling behind Trump by 2 percent—would vote for Clinton.
Clinton has also had a steadily declining favorability from Sanders supporters.
The most recent YouGov poll shows 61 percent of Sanders voters have an unfavorable view of Clinton, against just 38 percent with a favorable one. YouGov has been tracking these numbers for several months, and Clinton’s numbers have gradually declined, reports FiveThirtyEight.
Clinton currently leads Bernie Sanders by a sizable 271 delegates—1,768 to 1497—and is leading Sanders by almost 500 superdelegates according to RealClearPolitics.