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Why Bernie's Strong Poll Numbers Against Trump Are For Real

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Les Leopold       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   8 comments

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Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders
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Poll after poll shows Bernie doing better, much better, against Trump than Hillary.

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May 26 California
Clinton 49, Trump 39: Clinton +10
Sanders 53, Trump 36: Sanders +17

May 25 North Carolina
Clinton 43, Trump 47 Trump +4
Sanders 48, Trump 44 Sanders +4

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May 25 New Jersey
Clinton 48, Trump 37: Clinton +11
Sanders 57, Trump 33: Sanders +24

May 22 General Election
Trump 43, Clinton 46: Clinton +3
Sanders 54, Trump 39: Sanders +15

May 17 Arizona
Clinton 41, Trump 45: Trump +4
Sanders 45, Trump 44: Sanders +1

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May 15 Georgia
Trump 45, Clinton 41: Trump +4
Trump 42, Sanders 47: Sanders +5

Are these numbers meaningful?
The most common response is that Bernie as yet has not been tested by the Republican's slime machine. If he becomes the nominee they would red-bait him to death. After all, in the person of Ted Cruz, they already have a Joe McCarthy look-alike more than willing to play the part.

We are told red-baiting will work because there is so much to attack -- Bernie's kind words for Cuba, his so-called honeymoon to the Soviet Union, and, of course, all his socialistic big government programs that he wants to foist on freedom-loving Americans.

This meme is repeated so often (especially by Hillary surrogates) that it has taken on the status of conventional wisdom. It must be true or why would everyone be saying it?

But, where is the evidence to show that Sanders has been hurt or would be hurt by a bombardment of red-baiting and other kinds of negative attacks?

The People's Republic of Vermont
Vermont is part of the evidentiary base. It is so liberal, we are told, that Bernie's many campaign victories are irrelevant for how he would fare across the country.

But Vermont cast its electoral votes for Republicans from 1980 to 1988, and during that time Sanders was repeatedly elected mayor of Burlington, its largest city. By 1990 he was Vermont's lone congressman and in 2006 he won the Senate race. In 2012, he even bested Obama's 66 percent landslide by garnering 71 percent of the vote.

The 2006 Senate race is revealing. Republican businessman Richard Tarrant spent $7 million of his own money to blast Bernie on everything from being soft on Osama Bin Laden to supporting child molesters. It didn't work. Bernie won 65 percent of the vote.

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Les Leopold is the executive director of the Labor Institute in New York, and author of "Runaway Inequality: An Activist's Guide to Economic Justice" (Labor Institute Press, 2015)

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