From Underdog To Formidable Contender: Early Polls and Rallies Show Surge In Sanders Support

Hillary Clinton is starting to #FeelTheBern amid petering campaign rallies and surge in poll support for Sanders.

When Bernie Sanders announced his run on that windy day in Washington D.C. Americans didn’t think much of him. He sat very low in polls when pitted against Clinton, and many thought the Independent from Vermont didn’t have much of a chance at winning the nomination.

Early polls show that there has been a major shift in support for Sanders vs. Clinton, and over the weekend, Sanders drew three times the crowd at his campaign rallies than Clinton did.

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First, the polls show that in three key states Sanders is gaining on Clinton. In New Hampshire, according to The Morning Consult, Sanders trails Clinton by only 10 points (42 percent/ 32 percent). This indicates a huge surge in support for the Sand Man.

In Iowa, support is still very much in Clinton’s court, but polls indicate Sanders is climbing and the polls were conducted ahead of Sanders’ recent tour of the contest state. Still, he has a very large gap to close with Clinton’s 54 percent to his measly 12 percent.

And in South Carolina, polls show Clinton reigning supreme there with 56 percent versus Sanders’ 15 percent. However, Sanders did gain the support of South Carolina’s AFL-CIO labor union, which is a big win.

It’s still very much an uphill battle for Sanders, but he isn’t discouraged and the better news came over the weekend at his campaign rallies when he pulled in three times as many supporters at his rallies than Clinton did in New York. 

In New York this weekend, Clinton hosted a “Women Only” event with a ticket cost of $2700, but when ticket sales tanked they opened the event to men and about 90 people showed up to support her, including her husband Bill.

On a three-day tour in Iowa, Sanders was greeted with overflow crowds in Davenport and Ames and in Kensett, he was greeted by more than 300 people. On the last day of his tour, Sanders rallied in Iowa City where he packed a gym and stairwell with more than 1,100 people in attendance, The Burlington Free Press reported. Sanders also drew overflow crowds in New Hampshire the previous weekend.

To be fair, Sanders’ events were free to the public, but for an election underdog, it’s the perfect strategy to rally support from those who simply can’t afford high-dollar ticket prices to attend a political event.

It will take a lot of grassroots support for Sanders to take any sort of a lead, but it’s not impossible. In 1976, a little-known governor from Georgia took the presidency from the incumbent, Gerald Ford. When Jimmy Carter took out 14 Democratic contenders in the primaries to take the nomination a newspaper ran the headline, “Jimmy Who is Running for What?!” Carter took advantage of being a Washington outsider during the Watergate Scandal; Sanders is also taking advantage of being an outsider of sorts having been an Independent Senator, loyal only to good ideas.

If the trend continues, Sanders could become major competition for Clinton in what’s shaping up to be a good race.

Featured Image via Bernie Sanders

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