Bernie Sanders is still better able to beat Donald Trump than most pundits believe.
Looking at the simple averages of past and current polls in this campaign cycle alone shows that Senator Sanders is indeed stronger than many pundits believe, and this report looks at the numbers to see why. The New York Times’ Upshot political analysis team performed a side-by-side poll comparison between Mr. Sanders and Mr. Trump. It showed Mr. Sanders would beat Mr. Trump 47 percent to 45 percent nationally. The average is 41 percent.
In a race in which Mr. Trump’s strength in the Midwest and New England is being matched with Mr. Sanders’ popularity in the Northeast, it should not be such a surprise.
An additional study of the delegate math looks at the delegate battle from the previous election cycle. A reminder for the avid chart-watcher: The contest for the Democratic nomination between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders in 2016 was very uneven. Mrs. Clinton had a much bigger lead in early polls and ended up leading about 40 percent to Mr. Sanders’ 41 percent. But in the delegate race, she narrowly beat him by the same amount. Hence the total delegates split in 2016 was 64 to 63.
Because of the uneven contest in 2016, Mr. Sanders must now overcome a bigger deficit in the delegate race compared to Mrs. Clinton.
“Assuming we’re average in 2016,” writes one Upshot chart-watcher, “he’s a poor match for Donald Trump — and far better than almost everyone is expecting.”
It is interesting to note that the Upshot chart shows a significant amount of support for Mr. Sanders within the Democratic Party, and a lesser amount for Mr. Trump.
The candidates’ average favorability ratings, based on CNN’s polling, are significantly higher for Mr. Sanders, 47 to 42.
However, the Upshot’s chief political writer, Nate Silver, points out that Mr. Sanders is facing a much tougher obstacle. While Mr. Sanders has more than double the amount of personal wealth that Mr. Trump does, Mr. Trump has more than doubled the amount of personal wealth that Mrs. Clinton has. This is not a conventional electoral map, and until it changes, these numbers might hold up.