A word of caution from TPM Reader BY …
Your reader MJ is right to be worried. I’ve seen results of a poll (and heard about another) done by a group here in DC that tested Sanders’s support before and after likely lines of attack against him. The results are bad, real bad.
The attacks are pretty obvious (and it’s telling that no one in the GOP is making them right now), and the effects are dramatic. Sanders does well at the beginning of the poll (like he does now in face-to-face polling), but by the end is significantly behind *every* GOP contender. Basically, in the words of one highly-placed, data-driven Democratic friend of mine, “the numbers are brutal in many demographics. There’s just no math that gets Sanders to a victory.”
And I say this as a mild Sanders supporter, or at least I was before seeing these numbers. I’ve known Bernie for years and like him a lot, but the prospect of a Bernie-Cruz race is terrifying to me now.
This is, I know, an extremely contentious topic for our readers. There was actually some polls I saw this morning that made me at least somewhat reconsider my pretty strong opinion that whether or not Hillary Clinton is a strong candidate that Sanders would be torn apart in a national race. But it’s important to remember that it’s not “Bernie Sanders”, it’s “Bernie Sanders” after a fusillade of attacks based on a life history of a sort of politics that is very alien to a lot of Americans. In any case, I will try in the next couple days to pull together my thoughts on this whole issue and, at least as best I can piece it together, the best way to evaluate this question of electability.