Despite her commanding delegate lead, Hillary Clinton continues to struggle to close the deal in the race against Bernie Sanders. The latest evidence is a poll of Democrats from Bloomberg which shows Sanders leading Clinton on the question of which candidate is their first choice is for President. Note the 5.6% margin of error for this poll, which is why Bloomberg is calling this an even split. Bloomberg created this graph of the results:
Also interesting is the reason the pollster gave to explain Clinton’s struggle to convince Sander’s supporters to bow to her inevitability. From Bloomberg [emphasis added]:
By a more than 2-to-1 ratio, Democratic primary voters say Sanders would fight harder than Clinton for the middle class and do the most to rein in the power of Wall Street. Nearly six in 10 say the Vermont senator cares the most about people like them, and 64 percent see him as the most honest and trustworthy candidate. Just a quarter of voters said that of Clinton.
“It comes down to this: Bernie Sanders is the one Democrats see as looking out for them — meaning he will build a stronger middle class at the expense of Wall Street,” said J. Ann Selzer, whose firm conducted the poll. “They trust him to do it. In the end, Hillary Clinton has a trust problem.”
Matthew Slater, a 26-year old retail manager from Gulfport, Mississippi, said he doesn’t view Clinton “as believable and authentic.”
On March 8th I pointed out an ABC poll which had Sanders climbing to within 7 of Clinton. So even as her delegate lead climbed her lead versus Sanders in national polls dropped. That suggested a kind of determined resistance to her candidacy from some quarters. Sander’s supports just don’t seem to get discouraged easily. Today, the Hill has a story about the danger Clinton faces if she appears dismissive of Sanders supporters who are not ready to fall in line yet:
Sanders supporters, particularly young voters, will be crucial in the general election, Democrats say, and Clinton risks alienating them if she acts like the race is over — especially since Sanders continues to win states, including Idaho and Utah this week.
“They have to approach this with kid gloves,” said Democratic strategist Jim Manley, who has endorsed Clinton.
“She and her team have to be very, very careful that they don’t unduly antagonize Sen. Sanders or, more importantly, Sen. Sanders’s supporters.”
Another ally close to Clinton agreed, adding she “can’t take the primary for granted. She has to avoid being presumptuous at all costs in order for the party to come together.”
Clinton wants this to be over, but for a lot of young, enthusiastic Democrats she still hasn’t closed the deal.