Reality Just Called: Bernie Sanders Did not Win the Democratic Debate

I am seeing a flood of Facebook statuses that cover the usual range of reactions to something happening involving Bernie Sanders. Why is “the media” acting like Clinton won? (She did) Why are polls not being released? (It takes about this long.) There must be some connection between these media companies and Clinton. (It is complicated; yes, but several polling firms we’re waiting on are independent of the Clintons.)

One of the first “flash polls“, polls that are taken quickly over a single day to give news outlets a snapshot to frame the debate, is out. It found that Clinton won. And it was not close. Of the 760 people they asked, 60% said they thought Clinton won the debate. Chaffee and Webb were deemed to be the losers by a long margin.

Fans of Sanders need not despair here. Both Clinton and Sanders were viewed more favorably after the debate. Perhaps more importantly, Sanders is behind Clinton just outside of the margin of error. Clinton maintains a lead, but it is hardly safe. This cuts every which way: Sanders is narrowing the margin, Clinton has not been overcome, some Sanders supporters evidently think Clinton bested him in spite of their personal views.

This poll differs from most proceeding polls in that it takes Biden out of the picture. Sanders seems to have snapped up more of Biden’s support than Clinton. I find this exasperating, but it is easily explained. The Vice President is as much a political insider as anyone, but he has always managed to project an image of being an outsider. The differences in a Clinton and Biden presidency would be in competence, not policy goals. Lest I leave any doubt here, Clinton is the more competent candidate by leaps and bounds.

The usual caveats apply: this is a single poll taken on a single day. You can only extrapolate so much and it will be a few days before a clearer picture emerges. It is possible the first poll out the gate is an outlier.

But guys. Sanders did not apparently win the Democratic Debate. He performed well and energized his base. But most registered democrats felt Clinton won. Not Sanders.


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