In a new McClatchy-Marist poll, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) leads Republican candidate Donald Trump by a landslide margin of 12 percentage points, 53 to 41. In the McClatchy poll, Sanders also leads former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) by a landslide margin of 10 points, 51 to 41.
The huge Sanders advantage over Trump is not new. In the last four match-up polls between them reported by Real Clear Politics, Sanders defeated Trump by margins of 12, 9, 9 and 2 percentage points.
The huge Sanders advantage over Bush is new. In previous match-ups, the polling showed Sanders and Bush running virtually even, with Bush holding a 1-point lead over Sanders in most of the polls. Future polls will be needed to test whether the huge Sanders lead over Bush in the McClatchy poll will be repeated in future polling or whether the McClatchy poll is an outlier.
It is shocking that the data suggests that Sanders has a lead over Trump that could be so huge that he would win a landslide victory in the presidential campaign, with margins that would almost certainly lead Democrats to regain control of the Senate and could help Democrats regain control of the House of Representative — if, of course, the three polls that show Sanders beating Trump by 9 to 12 points reflect final voting in the presidential election.
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It would be equally shocking if future polling shows that the Sanders lead over Bush remains at landslide margins.
For today, there are two issues these polls present. First, the national reporting of the presidential campaign completely fails to reflect Sanders's strength in a general election, especially against Trump, and against Bush as well.
Second, and perhaps more important, Sanders's strength in general election polling gives credence to the argument I have been making in recent years, that American voters favor progressive populist positions which, if taken by Democrats in the general election, would lead to a progressive populist Democratic president and far greater Democratic strength in Congress.
It is a fallacy argued by conservatives and, in my view, inaccurately parroted by the mainstream media, that Sanders and other liberals take positions that are far too "left." The polling shows, issue by issue, and increasingly in general election match-ups of Republicans running against Sanders, that it is the left, not the right, which has the upper hand with American voters.