World

U.S. polls best candidates not front runners

Senator Bernie Sanders's hopes of winning the Democratic presidential nomination depends on changing the minds of people like Yvette Lewis, who is a super delegate to the party national convention. Super delegates are party functionaries not bound to any candidate.

Almost all of them have pledged support to former First Lady Hillary Clinton, and comprise the bulk of the majority that she commands among the delegates. Mr. Sanders has been repeatedly urging them to switch sides, acknowledging his massive support among the public. But there is no sign of that happening.

"I will stand by Secretary Clinton. There is no question about it," Ms. Lewis, the Maryland Democratic Party chair until 2015, told The Hindu. "If Senator Sanders wins the nomination, I will certainly support him in the general election."

Party elites are still in control of the Democratic Party and the nomination process is structured such that they have a disproportionate say, which they will use to nominate Ms. Clinton. There are 712 super delegates—30 per cent of the 2,382 delegates who will vote to select the nominee.

But poll after poll shows Mr. Sanders to be a better general election candidate. He would beat all three Republican candidates who are currently in the fray. Ms. Clinton, too, would beat Republicans Donald Trump and Ted Cruz though by lesser margins, but she would lose to John Kasich, according to latest polls.

Over the last week, the irony of this election season has become starker – the best general election candidates are not the front runners in either party; and the front runner in neither party is their best general election candidate. On the Democratic side this is happening because the establishment is in control; on the Republican side, this is happening because the establishment has lost control to insurgent Mr. Trump.

The latest national match-up shows Mr. Sanders beating Mr. Trump by 16 points, while Ms. Clinton beats him by 10.8 points; Mr. Sanders beats Mr. Cruz by 9.8 points while Ms. Clinton beats him by 3.1 points.

All polls suggest Mr. Kasich is the strongest general candidate for Republicans — the latest poll shows him beating Ms. Clinton by 6.3 percentage points while he trails Mr. Sanders by 1.3 points, which is a tie.

Some commentators say the ratings of Mr. Sanders and Mr. Kasich remain high because they have not been subjected to the barrage of negative advertisements as Ms. Clinton and Mr. Trump have been. Lot many Democratic sympathisers are asking Mr. Sanders to drop out, while Ms. Clinton herself has never made such an explicit demand.

Mr. Sanders's stock answer: "In all of the national polling that I have seen, we are beating Donald Trump by much greater margins than is Secretary Clinton."

On the Republican side, both Mr. Trump and Mr. Cruz want Mr. Kasich to drop out and leave the field clear for a direct contest between the two.

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