I never expected to be typing these words, but a new Fox News poll has Bernie Sanders leading Hillary Clinton nationally, 47-44. Last month, Clinton led Sanders 49-37 in the Fox News poll. Two months ago, Clinton led Sanders by 22 points. Last summer, Fox News had her up by 46 points.
It should be noted, however, that a new poll by NBC News/Wall Street Journal, also released today, finds Clinton leading Sanders by 11 points, 53-42. This is the other half of the blockbuster poll released yesterday that had Ted Cruz ahead of Donald Trump nationally.
I don’t believe that result and I’m skeptical that Sanders trails Clinton by 11 points. Nonetheless, the NBC News/WSJ poll casts doubt on the view, suggested by the Fox News poll, that Sanders is ahead of Clinton.
But let’s stay with the Fox News poll. It shows a dramatic reversal in nearly every demographic.
The most dramatic is among women. Clinton has gone from 28 points ahead of Sanders to just 3 points up in one month, a shift of minus 25 points (send those flowers to Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem, Senator Sanders). Among whites, Clinton has experienced a shift of minus 13 points. The two groups among which her support has basically held steady are black voters and those with a college degree.
The message is clear. Blue-collar white Democrats — the cohort that fueled Clinton’s late charge against Barack Obama in 2008 — are defecting at a rapid rate.
Many Republicans will be delighted to see Clinton in such sharp decline. However, the Fox News poll contains extremely bad news for the GOP, which has been overlooked in most of the stories I’ve read about this survey. It finds both Sanders and Clinton well ahead of Donald Trump, the Republican frontrunner.
According to the Fox poll, Sanders leads Trump 53-48 and Clinton leads him 47-42. The NBC/WSJ poll also has Trump losing to both Democrats. He loses to Clinton 50-40 and Sanders by more than that.
Ted Cruz does better than Trump in both polls, running basically even with Clinton. Rubio does better than Cruz in the Fox News poll, beating Clinton 48-44. The NBC/WSJ poll does appear to have tested Rubio (who was in third place among Republicans) against a Democrat.
Some of Trump supporters may not be put off much by the tycoon’s electability problem manifested by these polls. A goodly number of them apparently are moderates, independents, or Democrats. But anyone frightened by the prospect of a President Hillary Clinton or a President Bernie Sanders should also be frightened by the prospect of Donald Trump as the GOP nominee.