If you follow my Facebook page, my opinion was that it was too close to call, but that I thought that Bernie was going to get a bump in the polls. Why? Because a lot of viewers hadn’t been paying attention to the primaries yet, and were seeing Bernie for the first time. This was the most watched democratic debate in history with over 15 million television viewers and another million streaming it online. Bernie had nowhere to go but up. And while Hillary did a great job, her advantage up to this point becomes a disadvantage; people know her and have already formed their opinions about her.
That analysis, like my commentary the night of the debate wasn’t based on who I support or what I want to happen. It was an objective observation.
I immediately started seeing results of some very unscientific online polls indicating that Bernie crushed it. I didn’t post any of those, even though I support Bernie because again, they are very unscientific. I also didn’t post any of the nearly 100% of articles from the main stream media declaring that Hillary won decisively. Why? Because there were (and still aren’t yet) any scientific polls behind those claims. They were all basically opinion pieces.
But here’s the thing; those very unscientific polls weren’t even close.
Here’s a video of a CNN focus group. These people weren’t closely divided. Bernie clearly won with them. That would not be a margin that could be characterized as “close”.
Here’s another focus group that Fusion did. It was also not close, with Bernie winning 8 to 3 with one undecided. That would not be a margin that could be characterized as “close”.
Frank Luntz did a focus group in Florida. Not only did Bernie win overwhelmingly, but people who started off supporting Hillary switched their support to Bernie. That would not be a margin that could be characterized as “close”.
Here’s a screen shot of a very unscientific poll on Slate.com;
Funny enough, here’s an article on Slate proclaiming that Hillary resoundingly won. And here’s a comical follow up to that article, esplainin why the original article was correct, despite the not-even-close results of the very unscientific poll.
Here’s another screenshot from a very unscientific poll from Time;
That would not be a margin that could be characterized as “close”.
Here’s another very unscientific poll from an NBC affiliate in Colorado. That would not be a margin that could be characterized as “close”.
Here’s very unscientific poll on The Street. Bernie won 80% of the vote there. That would not be a margin that could be characterized as “close”.
Here’s one from Daily Kos where criticism of president Obama has been met with disdain for the past 6 years, and where Hillary is clearly the consensus candidate;
That would be the closest one I’ve seen, but then again it’s Kos who is not without it’s significant bias. It’s still a 20 point spread in favor of Bernie.
I can post another half dozen of these, but you get the point. That would not be a margin that could be characterized as “close”.
Vox published a piece claiming that Hillary “is not facing first rate competition”.
Ryan Lizza from the New Yorker tweeted that “Hillary Clinton won because all of her opponents are terrible”.
CNN called it “Hillary’s Big Night”.
Again, I can go on and on but you get the point.
Why did I keep emphasizing the phrases “very unscientific” and “could not be characterized as close” in this piece? Because both points must be emphasized. While the polls aren’t scientific and not even a little close, the pattern you see when you put them all together means something.
Does it mean that Bernie is going to be our next president? Not even remotely.
The fundraising disparity between Hillary and Bernie will always make him unlikely to win. When Obama ran in 2008, he raised half a billion dollars from regular Americans and half a billion dollars from the usual big money rainmakers. Bernie has a long road to hoe, but that doesn’t mean that he has no chance. The only thing that can make the money irrelevant, is if more people engaged in paying closer attention to the candidates they have to choose from.
Does this mean that the very unscientific polls showing Bernie is the overwhelming favorite are meaningless? Contrary to what the main stream (and some left leaning) media is telling you, the answer is no. It does mean something. It means that among people who are actively paying attention to the democratic primary, Bernie Sanders is crushing it. People who answer online polls they find on pages with political content are people who are more engaged in the process than the lion’s share of the electorate.
Unfortunately, most voters base their decisions on television commercials. Sigh.
So what’s my point? My point is that we’re about a day away from getting some scientific poll results. I’m positive that Bernie is going to get a bigger bump than I anticipated. Is he going to become the front runner? Probably not, but he’s going to make some pretty solid national gains.
Don’t let the media tell you what’s going on in this race. That’s my point. Thanks to the internet, you have the power to tell them. We’re not living in an age where they have as much power to create a narrative for you to believe and therefore make true.
Keep falling in love in the primary because that’s what primaries are for. Forget the “viability” arguments. This is your time to vote your conscience. I’m completely confident that people who fall in love in the primaries have the sense to fall in line in the general and to vote for whoever gets the democratic nomination, so I’m not going to lecture about the general. We’re not there yet.