Sanders, Trump Gaining Strength

Sept. 16, 2015 — Two new major media polls were released yesterday that show Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders opening up a lead in Iowa as well as New Hampshire, while Donald Trump is expanding his Republican advantage virtually everywhere.

The ABC News/Washington Post national survey (Sept. 7-10; 1,003 adults; 821 registered voters; 356 registered or leaning Democrats; 342 registered or leaning Republicans in combined telephone and online contact) finds former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leading Sen. Sanders and Vice President Joe Biden 42-24-21 percent, respectively. These numbers confirm almost to the digit the figures Monmouth University reported last week in their national survey.

The most troubling finding for Clinton in this study is her declining support among women. Compared to the July ABC/Washington Post poll, her allegiance among females has fallen 29 percentage points.

For the Republicans, again similar to the Monmouth findings in the previous week, Trump leads Dr. Ben Carson 33-20 percent, with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in third place with a small eight percent preference. Again, the three Republicans who have never held an elective office, Trump, Carson, and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, together command 55 percent of the Republican electorate.

The consistent, and now majority, leads for the outsider candidates are becoming a serious situation for the 13 Republican politicians who remain in the presidential race. Every day this trend continues, it becomes more difficult for the political insiders to re-establish a winning foothold.

Last week, NBC/Marist College projected Bernie Sanders to be leading Clinton in New Hampshire. This week, the CBS/YouGov polls of the Iowa (Sept. 3-10; 1,670 registered voters contacted online), New Hampshire (Sept. 3-10; 1,350 registered voters contacted online), and South Carolina (Sept. 3-10; 1,840 registered voters contacted online) electorates confirm much of the previously reported data, and go a step beyond as far as Sen. Sanders is concerned.

The CBS/YouGov data projects Sanders to an expanded 52-30-9 percent lead over Clinton and Biden, while the self-proclaimed socialist Vermont senator has a 43-33-10 percent advantage in the Hawkeye State of Iowa. In South Carolina, Clinton still holds a 46-23-22 percent lead over Sanders and Biden, but her margin comes from overwhelming support within the state’s large African American community, since she trails among white voters.

On the Republican side, Trump leads in all three of the tested states, and Dr. Carson places second in each. Adding Fiorina’s single-digit score, the trio touches or breaks a combined 60 percent in New Hampshire and South Carolina, and reaches 58 percent in Iowa. Trump’s 40-12 percent lead over Carson in New Hampshire is his strongest performance anywhere, to date.

Almost every national poll has found poor numbers for the former Secretary of State, New York senator, and First Lady in the area of trustworthiness. The ABC/Washington Post poll is no exception, as they report that only 39 percent of the national respondents say they can trust her, while 56 percent believe they cannot. In this instance, however, we see Trump scoring in the same territory, and actually a few points worse. Answering the same question about him, 35 percent say they can trust him while 59 percent do not.

This constructs a very interesting dynamic should Trump and Clinton go onto win their respective nominations. It remains to be seen if such a general election will come to pass, and whom such a wild card finish would actually elect.

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