Polling Reveals How Voters Feel About Bernie Sanders’ Proposals.

Bernie Sanders spent much of 2014 traveling the United States, talking to people about a potential presidential run. It’s clear he did his research. In January of this year, the Progressive Change Institute conducted a nationwide, bi-partisan poll of 1,500 likely 2016 voters. Released four months before Sanders announced his run, the data helps explain how his campaign gained traction so quickly. Put simply, Sanders aligns himself with deeply popular ideas. Furthermore, support for these ideas eschew partisan lines.

Reverb Press has created an infographic to break the results down. As the tenets of his platform, we’ve chosen ten proposals:

  1. Debt-Free College At All Public Universities
  2. End Tax Loopholes for Corporations that Ship Jobs Overseas
  3. End Gerrymandering
  4. Expand Social Security Benefits
  5. Public Funding Of Congressional Elections
  6. Allow Government to Negotiate Drug Prices
  7. Close Offshore Corporate Tax Loopholes
  8. Infrastructure Jobs Program – $400 Billion / Year
  9. Ban For-Profit Prisons
  10. Break Up Big Banks

Note: the Progressive Change Institute conducted an economics and governance-oriented poll. As such, pollsters did not ask participants many questions related to civil rights, reproductive health, the legalization of marijuana, same-sex marriage, environmental policy, or other contemporary issues. Furthermore, our infographic does not include undecided or neutral responses.  

Trends in primary polling reflect this deep support for progressive policy ideas. As Sanders’ name recognition increases, his favorability enjoys an upward trend, while his unfavorably rating remains more or less stagnant. Because income inequality and healthcare reform dominate Sanders’ platform, he’s capturing a wide base of voters whose primary concerns are economic.

Sanders now faces the challenge of converting voters who are primarily concerned with social issues. It’s clear his campaign realizes this. After receiving some gentle criticism from #blacklivesmatter, Sanders released a comprehensive racial justice platform. In recent appearances, he’s aligned himself with Pope Francis on environmental issues. Importantly, Pope Francis argues that income inequality is a moral problem.

Though the Catholics are no longer a functional voting blocthe association of economic issues with justice-related ones may yet energize other blocs of leftist voters. If Sanders continues his extensive outreach efforts, he could very well sweep the Democratic primary and face the Republican candidate in 2016–a virtual repeat of Obama’s victory in 2008, minus Democratic establishment support.

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