MEMO: Bernie Is Democrats' Strongest Candidate Against Trump

To: Interested Parties

From: Bernie 2020

RE: Data Show Bernie Is Best Positioned To Defeat Trump

After a year of campaigning and victories in the first three Democratic Party elections, Bernie Sanders has solidified his position as – by far – the candidate who is best positioned to defeat Donald Trump in the general election. In addition to Bernie 2020 having the strongest grassroots fundraising and volunteer organization, a wave of empirical data shows that Bernie is the strongest Democratic candidate against Trump and among key demographic groups that often swing elections in battleground areas up and down the ballot. 

Summarizing much of this data in a New York Times analysis, Center for American Progress senior fellow Steve Phillips wrote: “Not only does most of the available empirical evidence show Mr. Sanders defeating President Trump in the national popular vote and in the critical Midwestern states that tipped the Electoral College in 2016, but his specific electoral strengths align with changes in the composition of the country’s population in ways that could actually make him a formidable foe for the president.”

You can click here to read an in-depth Washington Post review of Sanders’ electability case. What follows is a summary of the key data. 


  • Bernie has led Trump in 54 of 59 polls and has larger margin than Biden in 7 of 13 recent surveys: Since Bernie announced his campaign for president in early 2019, he has led Trump in 54 out of 59 surveys tracked by Real Clear Politics. Bernie has posted a larger margin against Trump than Joe Biden in 7 out of 13 recent national polls tracked by FiveThirtyEight.

  • Bernie is a strong candidate against Trump in industrial battleground states: A new Wisconsin State Journal poll finds Bernie leading in the Democratic primaries and in the general election in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — the three previously Democratic states that helped deliver the election to Donald Trump. The most recent Muhlenberg College poll and Marquette University poll show that Bernie is the only candidate leading Trump in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, respectively. 

  • Bernie is the strongest candidate versus Trump on character and values: USA Today reports that in its most recent poll, “40% said they admired Sanders’ character, well above the 26% who said they admired Trump” - and well above other Democratic candidates. The same survey found Sanders with the largest number of voters saying he “shares my values” - above Trump and all other candidates. 


  • Bernie is strong against Trump among independent voters: Polls from Reuters/Ipsos and Survey USA show Bernie with double-digit leads against Trump among independents. In Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada - all swing states - entrance/exit polls showed Bernie winning independent voters. 

  • Bernie is strong among suburban women: USA Today reports that in its most recent poll, “Suburban women, a key voting block that helped Democrats flip the House of Representatives in 2018, favored Sanders, with 38% saying they admired his character and 47% agreeing that he ‘cares about people like me.’” Iowa entrance polls also showed Bernie winning among suburban voters. 

  • Bernie is the strongest candidate among Latinos, putting key states in play: The latest Fox News poll shows Bernie with a 27-point lead against Trump among Latino voters -- the largest margin of any candidate. UCLA researchers estimated Sanders won 70 percent of Nevada’s Latino vote, and the recent PPIC poll shows him winning 53 percent of the Latino vote in California. This strength with Latinos is significant in battleground states such as Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Texas.

  • Bernie is the strongest candidate among working class voters: In the primary, Bernie has led among working-class voters, and the most recent poll from Survey USA shows him with the largest margin against Trump among voters making $40,000 or less. In New Hampshire, exit polls showed Bernie winning among voters making $100,000 or less, and a voting analysis by INET found that “lower income towns in New Hampshire voted heavily for Sanders.” Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale recently identified this as a potential problem for Republicans in a general election against Bernie. “I think he's tough in places where people are making $12 an hour," Parscale said of Bernie.

  • Bernie is the strongest candidate among young people: Bernie has big leads among young people in the Democratic primary -- and that trend is reflected in general election polls as well. In the latest Quinnipiac University survey, Bernie has a 33-point lead against Trump among voters aged 18-34 -- by far the largest lead among that group of any Democratic candidate.