Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Really? Sanders Can Beat Any GOP Candidate? Really?

How about a dollar for every time someone has said to you: "Bernie Sanders is a great guy, but he can't win the general election"?

Ha! Not true according to the newest poll from McClatchy/Marist. With one slight exception — and it's one that doesn't count — Sanders does just as well as Hillary Clinton in beating the Republican field.

And how about this? They each beat the whole GOP field! Quite startlingly, each does it by almost the same amount. The one exception is a match-up against Ben Carson. Hillary beats him by 2 points; Sanders loses to him by 2 points, both numbers well within the margin of error. But this is the exception I mentioned as being irrelevant, i.e. Carson is not going to be the GOP nominee.

You're wondering how good this poll is. Looking at its approach and its "frame", as its called, it doesn't look too bad at all. Unlike the many polls that are still behind the times, this one included a sizable number of cell phone calls.  Cell phones are in use as the sole household phone in about half of households, so cell calls being used for one-third the sample was pretty good. This alone may account for this poll differing from two Iowa polls recently that were badly constructed to virtually exclude the two groups most likely to be Sanders supporters.

Admittedly, there are more Democrats in this McClatchy/Maris poll than Republicans.  In 2012 there were polls with similarly more Democrats than Republican, and these showed Obama winning. Predictably the GOP screamed about the edge in Democratic numbers among those polled, but the pollsters shrugged it off, insisting their polls were sound. They were right. Obama did indeed win.

We have to keep in mind that more Democrats may show up in polling than Republicans simply because there are more Democrats in the population.  It's this fact that gives Democrats the edge in the presidential election voting. And it's an increasing edge. The Republicans just continue dropping in numbers as a percentage of the population.

A radical thought I keep having:  Has the GOP already shrunk so much in numbers it just can't win the presidency at all?  And/or is the GOP field just so weak that — dare I say it? — maybe any Democrat can win the presidency next year?  And is the field so weak because somewhere some potentially strong GOP candidates looked at the declining number of Republicans and the growing number of crazies on the GOP right and said, "Hell no! I won't go!" (Honestly, however, I can't think of who such Republicans might be. Any ideas?)

I pose three possibilities now, maybe pretty wild ones: To wit, Bernie Sanders does as well as Hillary in beating the GOP because (a) the GOP ain't got nobody, (b) people don't like Hillary all that much so Bernie is about as strong as she is even though less known, or (c) nobody knows nothing no more no how about politics because it's a weird year.

It may be more than a weird year. I think we are living in one of the strangest political times ever. Not for 130 years has America witnessed the death of a major political party, but I think that's what we are seeing now. It's been going on for about a decade, and it's painful to watch. I think it has in fact actually killed people.

But more about that another time. Meantime try googling "Whigs".


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  2. I don't think the Republican party will die quickly. Maybe they will lose the ability to win an election but they will continue to try for years. Other small parties exist now, Jill Stein of the Green party has a platform very similar to Bernie Sanders, but no recognition and doesn't even make the ballot in every state.