Sunday, June 12, 2016

Will Sanders' Supporters Vote For Clinton In November ?

Will the supporters of Bernie Sanders vote for Hillary Clinton in the November election, or will they stay at home or vote third party? That seems to be the question on all the cable news networks these days (and on social media). The YouGov Poll tried to find out. They did a survey of 2,000 registered voters between June 2nd and 5th -- asking those voters how many Sanders supporters will vote for Clinton. The margin of error for the survey was 3.2 points.

It turns out that most people, at least right now, are rather pessimistic about the prospect. Only 30% of the general public thought most Sanders supporters would vote for Clinton. Democrats were slightly more optimistic with 38% thinking Sanders supporters would come around -- and Clinton supporters were the most optimistic, with 49% saying most would vote for Clinton. Among Sanders supporters, about 35% said most would vote for Clinton.

I am a lot more optimistic. I honestly believe that most Sanders supporters will wind up voting for Clinton this November. Let me give you my reasons for believing this poll is too pessimistic.

1. The poll was taken before the last six states voted (New Jersey, California, New Mexico, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota). Many Sanders supporters were still clinging to the hope that massive victories in those states would save the campaign of their candidate.

2. The campaign is barely over. In fact, the District of Columbia won't vote until next Tuesday. The Sanders supporters are still trying to get used to the fact that their candidate lost, and their disappointment is still raw. Remember, in 2008 a lot of Clinton supporters felt the same way -- but by November of that year they had faced reality, and most of them voted for Obama.

3. Some Democratic heavy-hitters have now endorsed Hillary Clinton (President Obama, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren) and they are eager to hit the campaign trail to help her. And these are people that most of the Sanders supporters like (see the chart below). These politicians showed respect to both camps by staying out of the race, and I believe they'll help to bring Sanders supporters back into the Democratic fold.

4. The Republican candidate is Donald Trump. This may well be the biggest help to Clinton in getting the votes of Sanders supporters. Those people despise Trump, giving him an 88% unfavorable rating.

The real question is -- was the Sanders campaign a "cult of personality" (with his supporters believing that only he could "save" America)? Or was it progressive voters trying to find the best candidate to solve this nation's problems? I believe it was mostly honest progressives trying to do the best for this country, and that's why I believe most of them will vote for Clinton in November (or at least vote to keep Trump out of the White House). Those progressives know a Trump presidency would be a disaster.

There will be a few die-hard "cult of personality" voters that will vote third party or stay at home, but I think there numbers will be tiny and they won't have an effect on the election -- just like the few die-hard Clinton supporters didn't affect the 2008 election.

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