“Berning” out?

New poll shows voters believe Hillary will be “more effective” than Bernie Sanders

(Josh Haner/The New York Times)

Even before Hillary Clinton launched her 2016 campaign, many political observers predicted that she would inevitably win the Democratic nomination. Despite multiple scandals, surrounding her handling of the Benghazi attack in 2013 and the use of a private email server, and the rise of Bernie Sanders, two new polls are beginning to hint at that much talked about inevitability. A new national poll by the New York Times/CBS News shows that Hillary Clinton still has the support of a majority of Democratic primary voters, and that they believe that she would be more effective at passing her political agenda and dealing with international crises than her chief opponent, Bernie Sanders. According to the poll, Clinton has the support from 52 percent of Democratic primary voters, while Mr. Sanders has backing from 33 percent — numbers that are virtually unchanged since a CBS poll in early October. While Sanders runs on a platform of “changing Washington,” only 51 percent of Democratic primary voters believe he will be able to achieve that goal, compared to 62 percent for Clinton. In general, Hillary Clinton inspires more confidence in voters than Sanders on a wide range of issues, from regulating banks and financial institutions, to gun laws and foreign policy.

Overall, the primary voters seem to be skeptical about the feasibility of the Sanders’ candidacy. When asked who they believe the eventual candidate will be, Clinton leads with a 4-to-1 margin. While 84 percent of those surveyed believe that Hillary Clinton is beholden to big-money special interests (which is one of Sanders’ biggest criticisms of his contender), they still favor her as the candidate who is more likely to compromise with Republicans in Congress and get things done. There’s less good news for Clinton in this poll too: her support among male and younger Democratic voters is still lagging, and many don’t seem to really trust her: 52 percent said they think she is saying what she actually believes, while  62 percent believe Bernie Sanders is genuine. It’ll be interesting to see if and how those numbers change after Saturday night’s second Democratic debate in Des Moines, as nearly half of Democratic primary voters said they were likely to watch the debate, and another 30 percent “somewhat likely” to tune in.

Another hint that Clinton is tightening her grip on an eventual nomination comes from a poll of Democratic superdelegates conducted by The Associated Press. The AP polled all 712 superdelegates — the party insiders who actually cast the ballots at the Democratic National Convention — on what candidate they plan to support next summer, and about 80 percent responded. Clinton’s lead over her rivals is is staggering. Of those that responded, Clinton has a 359-8 advantage over Bernie Sanders. Martin O’Malley picked up two votes in the poll. There were 210 superdelegates who said they’re still uncommitted, but even if all of those votes were given to Sanders, Clinton would still win in a landslide.

Read the full story at The New York Times and The Associated Press.

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