Looks like support for Bernie Sanders is declining

All the Democratic primaries are nearly done. Clinton should win nearly all contests remaining* and by June 7 will reach a majority of pledged delegates, those awarded from people participating in primaries and caucuses.

Sanders’ only path to the nomination would be for superdelegates to overturn the pledged delegates, something early in the race his campaign decried as undemocratic, while more recently saying they should do.

One reason why Sanders said superdelegates should move to him is that he often does better in the polls than Clinton in matchups with Trump. However, superdelegates are sophisticated in their knowledge of elections and realize that, unlike Clinton, Sanders has not faced a barrage of attacks on his record and personal history. Thus his general election numbers are inflated.

Sanders has also claimed that he has momentum and that will move superdelegates to support him, sometimes also saying that he has more support than Clinton and that people like him the more they learn about him.

But there’s no indication of any momentum in the race. Instead, there are a series of states with good or poor demographics for the various candidates, with demographics strongly predicting who wins any particular state.

Moreover, it’s simply not so that Sanders is gaining support. In fact, it’s the opposite.

Sen. Sanders’ support is declining nationally

Sure, Sanders has gained quite a lot versus Clinton since he announced for president. That has been quite something to see.

But, in the national poll aggregate at HuffPostPollster, Sanders was closest to Clinton on April 11, 2016, when he was behind by 5 percentage points.

Sanders is now behind by nearly 13 percentage points, and has fallen from 44% to 40% support.

HuffPost Pollster poll aggregate, Clinton vs Sanders

HuffPost Pollster poll aggregate, Clinton vs Sanders

There are few national polls being conducted these days and that certainly makes sense, given that few primaries are left.

But the overall trends in the last month are of a candidate on the way down, not the way up.

Behind by more than 3 million votes and nearly 300 pledged delegates, and with a growing image problem, Bernie Sanders keeps losing support and Clinton is on the rise.

Thus reasons for superdelegates to switch that are based on public opinion are absent.

Superdelegates are not going to switch to Sanders, particularly after the harassment, booing, incivility and even death threats from his backers at and after the Nevada Democratic convention, particularly since Sanders only weakly criticized his backers involved in those activities.

Why should they after that leadership failure and with a candidacy that’s declining in popular support?

* In the remaining contests, I predict Sanders will win Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota. Clinton will win New Jersey, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the District of Columbia, New Mexico and California. My least sure prediction is California, but if Sanders wins it, it will be close and Clinton will have more than enough pledged delegates to have a majority. Note that all Democratic contests award delegates proportionally.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.