The outsider entrepreneur who refuses to wear a tie at the Democratic debates is attracting some of the same people as the outsider senator who spurns brushing his hair for rallies. Fifty-seven percent of Yang’s potential supporters are considering Sanders, according to a recent Ipsos/FiveThirtyEight poll. The mutual interest works in the other direction, too: 16 percent of Sanders’ potential voters are eyeing Yang.
Though Sanders and Yang differ in significant ways, they’re both running anti-establishment campaigns that speak to an electorate frustrated with the status quo, wary of Democratic insiders, and looking for economic help. For Sanders, their overlapping bases may give him a small boost if Yang drops out of the race down the road or if he works to woo the so-called #YangGang.
But it’s also a potential threat to Sanders even if Yang continues polling in the single digits. If Yang shaves off a few percentage points from Sanders’ voting bloc, particularly in early-primary states such as New Hampshire, that could turn a second- or third-place finish into something worse.