Sunday, March 13, 2016

Bernie-or-Bust Supporters Choose Trump over Hillary

Via the Guardian: Negative views of Hillary Clinton have some voters weighing their options for Donald Trump.

This week the Guardian sought out Sanders fans who are contemplating switching their allegiance to Trump if Hillary Clinton secures the Democratic nomination. Almost 700 people replied to the call-out, and some 500 of them said they were thinking the unthinkable: a Sanders-Trump switch.

Responses to the Guardian call-out show that Trump and Sanders share a few themes in their messaging that resonate with the same groups. When asked which was the most important issue in determining candidate choice, respondents in a CNN/ORC poll overwhelmingly checked the box that said “the economy”.

But both candidates appear to have been effective in convincing voters that they “get it”. Another CNN/ORC poll released at the end of February found that 46% of Republicans said Trump, better than any other candidate, understands the problems facing them personally. And 48% of Democrats said the same about Sanders.

Many respondents to the Guardian’s call-out also expressed the sentiment that Sanders and Trump get voters’ economic pain. Several said they found an affinity between the two candidates’ take on the economy, particularly trade.

Of the respondents who shared their views, 61% said they were motivated by an anti-Hillary feeling – the remainder were split down the middle between saying they were “pro-Trump” or felt equally pro-Trump and anti-Hillary.

Commonly expressed criticisms of Clinton were that she is a war-monger, that she is corrupt and “owned by Wall Street”, that her policies are Republican in all but name and that she is an establishment insider while Sanders and Trump are both outsiders.

Views such as this are also driving some Sanders followers to vow that for them it is “Bernie or bust” – should he fail to win the nomination they will abstain entirely from the ballot.

Such deep suspicions of Clinton are also reflected in formal opinion polls such as a Hart Research survey for NBC/WSJ that found that a third of Sanders voters saw her in a negative light. “That’s a figure that needs to be addressed – the Clinton campaign is concerned about it and are focused on doing something about it,” Horwitt said.\

A look at the demography of Trump and Sanders supporters also provides some insights. If you were to get Sanders’ supporters in a room with Trump’s supporters, the two groups would be pretty hard to tell apart.

Repeated polling (including exit polls of individuals who have actually voted in primary elections so far) shows that Sanders’ supporters are overwhelmingly white, and that black voters are unlikely to vote for Sanders.

Both of those facts are also applicable to Donald Trump. A February CNN and ORC poll found that 44% of all white respondents said they had a favorable opinion of Trump, while 52% of white respondents said the same about Sanders. Non-white respondents were less likely to choose either candidate over others from their party.

Income is another shared characteristic, but here's where they divide:

Respondents in the CNN/ORC poll were more likely to have a favorable opinion of Trump if they were older (44% of those age 65 and over supported the candidate compared to 25% of those age 18-34) but younger respondents were more likely to support Sanders (51% of those age 65 and over compared to 69% of those age 18-34). While Sanders supporters were likely to say that they lived in urban areas, Trump’s supporters were more likely to say that they lived in rural parts of the country.

There was also another impassioned category of Sanders fans in the Guardian’s call-out: 214 people – 32% of all respondents – replied to express that they would never vote for Trump. Some expressed anger at the Guardian for even asking the question, which they saw as an insult to the Sanders movement and an example of “mainstream media” bias.



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