Senator Bernie Sanders, who lost to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries, would have beaten Donald Trump by a historic margin if he had been the party’s nominee, according to a pre-election poll. The national survey of more than 1,600 registered voters, conducted by Gravis Marketing two days before the general election, found that 75-year-old Vermont Senator would have received 56 per cent of the vote while Trump would have won 44 per cent.
The poll was commissioned and financed by outgoing Florida Congressman Alan Grayson, a Democrat who endorsed Sanders in the presidential primary, The Huffington Post reported. The last election result that decisive was Ronald Reagan’s victory over Democrat Walter Mondale in 1984.
Crucially, independent voters, who made up nearly one- third of the general election voters this year, favoured Sanders over Trump, 55 per cent to 45 per cent, the poll found. Clinton, by contrast, lost independents 48 per cent to 42 per cent, according to exit polls. Although the Gravis poll did not show state-level results, it is safe to assume that any candidate with that type of lead in the popular vote would win the electoral college handily.
Of course, the poll results are an imperfect indicator of what would have occurred if Sanders had actually been on the ballot on election day. The vast majority of polls had mistakenly predicted a Clinton victory in Tuesday’s election. Prior to FBI Director James Comey’s announcement that the agency was reopening the investigation of Clinton’s emails at the end of October, Clinton even led Trump by as much as 13 percentage points, more than Sanders’ margin of victory in the Gravis poll.
“As we contemplate the dark days ahead, and then as we suffer through them, we Democrats should remember that it could have been entirely different. All we had to do was to elect a progressive as president just as a large majority of Americans really wanted,” Grayson was quoted as saying. Sanders has not ruled out another run for the presidency in 2020, but for now he is focused on his Senate re-election campaign in 2018