Political Editors / Jan. 25, 2016

Sanders Beats Trump?

Recent poll says Sanders would win.

There is a possibility that despite the most conservative and qualified GOP field in recent history, the Republican nominee may be former Democrat Donald Trump. And it’s also possible he’ll face not the inevitable Hillary Clinton but rather admitted socialist Bernie Sanders. If so, voters will stand at the ballot box come November and ask themselves: What kind of big government do we want? Clinton may face prosecution for her illegal mishandling of classified information, which leaves the avowed socialist holding his party’s nomination by default. Trump and the followers of his personality cult think this is great news. Nothing, Trump says, can shake his high-flying standing in the polls. “The polls, they say I have the most loyal people,” Trump boasted at an Iowa campaign rally Saturday. “Did you ever see that? Where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s, like, incredible.” Additionally, a Gallup poll from last year found that 50% of the nation wouldn’t vote for a socialist.

But Sanders too is feeling confident. “There would be nothing more in this world that I would like than to take on Donald Trump,” Sanders recently said. “We would beat him and we would beat him badly.”

He might be right. A recent survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal and NBC say that it would be Sanders who would win in a Sanders/Trump general election — by a 15-point margin. The pollsters asked respondents from Jan. 9 to 13, “If the election for president were held today, and Donald Trump were the Republican candidate and Bernie Sanders were the Democratic candidate, for whom would you vote?” Sanders got 54% of the support and Trump received 39%.

There are a lot of ‘if’ and ‘buts’ associated with that poll question. We haven’t even had the first presidential debate between Republican and Democrat — and that will be a game changer. Furthermore, polls this early in the game (heck, even exit polls on Election Day) are unreliable, especially polls about hypothetical situations. Often, they amount to “pollaganda,” or the use of polls to influence public opinion instead of describing it. And you wonder why the media is doing everything it can to keep Trump front and center.

Bottom line: If the race came down to these two men, it would be between a billionaire who has flipped on key issues and a seemingly principled socialist bent on waging a war on the rich.

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