4 April 2016

By 54% to 4%, Americans think Clinton is “scared” to debate Sanders


While the Republican debates have enjoyed record TV ratings there has often been a suspicion that the Democratic Party establishment has wanted to minimise the number and profile of Sanders V Clinton debates – mainly because that establishment is thought to favour the former First Lady and Secretary of State and doesn’t want her damaged by tussles with the Vermont socialist. One debate was even scheduled on a Saturday just before Christmas. The controversy continues with Mrs Clinton seemingly reluctant to agree a date to debate Senator Sanders before the looming New York primary (in which the former Senator for the state has an 11% lead). The Clinton campaign strenuously disputes that they are reluctant.

We asked YouGov’s First Verdict panel who they blamed for the non-agreement and by 54% to 4% Mrs Clinton was seen as “most scared”:

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We also asked the panel why Senator Sanders was continuing to do well in the contest with Mrs Clinton despite the likelihood that she would prevail in the race to win her party’s nomination. Was it because she was a weak candidate or was it because of his message on free trade, Wall Street and the influence of big money? By two-to-one the YouGov panel credited Senator Sanders’ message:

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If you look at general election head-to-head polling Senator Sanders actually does better than Mrs Clinton. Support for Bernie Sanders might, of course, easily melt away as voters became aware of the cost to taxpayers of his policies but plenty of other polling in CapX’s Portrait of America series has pointed to the popularity (at least superficially) of bigger government.

For more about Portrait of America and the methodology behind First Verdict, click here.

For the complete Portrait of America catalog, click here.

Tim Montgomerie is Editor of Portrait of America