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First-Ever Survey of Sanders Delegates Shows Views of Ticket: Half “Disapprove,” a Quarter “Approve,” a Quarter “Ambivalent”

WASHINGTON - A just-completed survey of Bernie Sanders delegates to the national convention gauged opinions of the Biden-Harris ticket. The survey, conducted by the Bernie Delegates Network, found that 33 percent “strongly disapprove” of the ticket, while 19 percent “somewhat disapprove,” 24 percent are “ambivalent,” 17 percent “somewhat approve” and 7 percent “strongly approve.” (Charts are below.)

The survey is by far the largest sampling ever conducted of the Sanders delegates to the 2020 convention. A total of 510 Sanders delegates completed the survey online (each using a unique link that prevented duplicate voting). The survey was conducted Aug. 14-16.

“It’s unclear whether Biden realizes the political realities that are reflected in these numbers -- and how they could hurt him in swing states if he mistakenly believes he has the left adequately on board for the Biden-Harris ticket,” said Norman Solomon, a Sanders delegate from California who is national director of RootsAction.org, one of the groups sponsoring the Bernie Delegates Network. “This should be a wakeup call for the Biden strategists.” 

Jeff Cohen, a Sanders delegate from New York and co-founder of RootsAction.org, commented: “This survey shows that the Biden-Harris team needs to go further to unify the party in order to crush Trump in November. Bernie delegates are some of the most dedicated activists and respected Democrats in their communities, and hundreds of them are influential grassroots leaders in battleground states. Go-slow tepid liberalism may satisfy party power brokers and excite corporate media pundits, but it isn’t getting the job done with important activists who know how to reach swing voters on the left.”

Alan Minsky, executive director of Progressive Democrats of America, said: “This is hard data and the message is clear. To this group of core progressives, the Biden-Harris ticket has yet to close the deal adequately. We, at PDA, understand it is essential that Donald Trump be defeated this fall. We also feel that the huge progressive constituency is key to achieving that result. These poll results suggest that progressive activists are looking for the Democratic ticket to signal greater commitment to progressive goals. I do think that would be a winning approach, especially since progressive policies fit our emergency needs during the pandemic.”

A former chair of the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party who is a Sanders delegate, Karen Bernal, said: “The challenge the ticket represents is that we are fighting for something that goes well beyond returning to the days before Trump -- that’s what sets us apart from establishment Democrats who pine for the days of Obama. We are committed to the push for changes that are necessary and foundational if our nation and the planet are to survive and have any sense of well-being. Improved Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, ending a racist criminal injustice system at home and militarism abroad -- if Biden is inaugurated, expect the honeymoon to last about 30 seconds.”

The survey offered respondents the option of adding their comments, and 170 of the delegates chose to do so. Here is a sampling of comments:

**  “I, of course, would have 100% preferred Bernie as President but at this point I am focusing my efforts on getting Biden elected and other progressives in office.” 

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**  “I think the ticket has the potential to defeat Trump/Pence, but that alone is insufficient. I am unconvinced that this ticket will lead to necessary structural change to how our government works for its citizens (and not corporations). I am troubled that the ticket has not (yet?) embraced M4A [Medicare for All].” 

**  “Excited to have a black and South Asian woman on the ticket. But not convinced the policies we need will be forwarded by this administration.”

**  “I will support the ticket but would like to see bolder candidates supporting MFA [Medicare for All] and GND [Green New Deal]. These are the transformative issues for the next generation and this ticket does not speak to these issues.”

**  “It'd be great if they could extend an olive branch to progressives but they keep missing the opportunity.”

**  “I think it's incredibly tone deaf to pick a former prosecutor and AG after an entire summer of the largest social uprisings since the 1960s, protesting police brutality and systemic racism. I believe Harris brings more baggage to the table and doesn't do enough to unite the party. There were plenty of other women of color who would have been exceptional choices, that would bring everyone to the table and mobilize thousands of grassroots activists around the country.”

**  “This country needs leaders who are not taking big money from or are aligned with corporate interests. We need Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, real criminal justice system reform, and to get big corporate money out of politics.”  

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Action for a Progressive Future (the organization that runs RootsAction) is a nonprofit, progressive, public policy advocacy group that will engage citizens in the democratic process and help make sure legislators hear their voices.

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