Vox takes a look at the pundits trying to sell the idea that Bernie Sanders is the best choice to beat Donald Trump in November and find holes in their thinking…
The idea that Bernie Sanders would be able to INCREASE his base (That hasn’t happened so far) to the level that it would overwhelm the natural Democratic moderates is a LONG…LONG shot….
We found that nominating Sanders would drive many Americans who would otherwise vote for a moderate Democrat to vote for Trump, especially otherwise Trump-skeptical Republicans.
Republicans are more likely to say they would vote for Trump if Sanders is nominated: Approximately 2 percent of Republicans choose Trump over Sanders, but desert Trump when we pit him against a more moderate Democrat like Buttigieg, Biden, or Bloomberg.
Democrats and independents are also slightly more likely to say they would vote for Trump if Sanders is nominated. Swing voters may be rare — but their choices between candidates often determine elections, and many appear to favor Trump over Sanders but not over other Democrats.
After showing three attacks against each candidate, we find that Sanders would still need the same large youth turnout surge to overcome his deficit relative to the more moderate candidates against Trump. When we analyze the data using the same approach described above that disregards what voters say about whether they will vote, we find that, after being shown the attacks, Buttigieg, Bloomberg, and Biden still do better against Trump than Sanders does. (Warren still performs even worse than Sanders against Trump in this test. We did not include Klobuchar in this survey.)
Early polls are never a sure-fire guide to what will happen in an election months later. But Democrats should not be very reassured by early polls that find Sanders faring as well against Trump as the more moderate candidates: These numbers may only look decent for Sanders because they assume he will inspire a youth turnout miracle. Our survey data reveal voters of all parties moving to Trump if Sanders is nominated, a liability papered over by young voters who claim they would be inspired to vote by Sanders alone.
The gamble Democrats supporting Sanders based on his early polls against Trump must be ready to make is that, despite the evidence to the contrary, the lowest-participating segment of the electorate will turn out at remarkably high rates because Sanders is nominated….