Despite Clinton Lead, Polls Still Show Sanders Would Do Best Against Trump

On Tuesday, May 10, 2016, an NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll showed in a potential matchup between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, Sanders would win 53% to 40%. A Hillary Clinton v. Donald Trump contest would result in a Clinton victory by a 5-point margin, 49% to 44%. The margin of error for the poll was plus or minus 1.3%.

These results are consistent will prior surveys.

While reporting on this poll, Common Dreams noted:

The latest Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday shows Clinton beating Trump by just one point—43 to 42 percent—in both Florida and Pennsylvania. In Ohio, the real estate mogul holds a four-point lead over Clinton, with 43 to 39 percent.

Echoing the NBC News findings, Sanders bests Trump in all three of those states’ hypothetical match-ups. The Vermont senator leads by two percentage points in both Florida and Ohio (44-42 percent and 43-41 percent, respectively) while beating Trump 47 to 41 percent in Pennsylvania.

The Quinnipiac survey notes that “since 1960 no candidate has won the presidential race without taking at least two of these three states.”

Bernie Sanders faces a steep climb to overtake Hillary Clinton in the delegate count, which currently stands at Clinton 1,705 and Sanders 1,415.

West Virginia votes tonight, and Sanders is expected to win, but the state only carries 37 delegates — divided up according to vote totals. Winning Kentucky, Oregon, and Puerto Rico could help Sanders a bit, as they have between 60-75 delegates, but the big prizes remaining are New Jersey (142 delegates) and California (546 delegates). Sanders needs to win by large margins to overcome his delegate deficit.

Trump and Hillary, confident Sanders cannot make a comeback, have focused attention on attacking each other and gathering voters left over from the nomination season. Trump has taken a turn to the left in an attempt to reach liberals who dislike Clinton (even talking about raising the minimum wage and taxes on the wealthy), while Clinton has taken a turn to the right to appeal to conservatives who dislike Trump. Both strategies come with risk, as Trump may alienate conservative voters who suspect he is more liberal than he pretends and Clinton may only confirm to Bernie Sanders supporters and other leftists that she is, as she recently claimed, “a moderate and center” politician whose record leans unacceptably to the right.

It remains to be seen if these shifts in rhetoric will help, hurt, or not effect Sanders’ upset efforts.

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