Bernie Sanders says that American voters would see voting for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in a general election as “the lesser of two evils.”
“That’s what the American people are saying,” the Vermont senator said on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” on Sunday. “If you look at the favorability ratings of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, both of them have very, very high unfavorables.”
According to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday, 58 percent of registered voters view Trump unfavorably, while 54 percent view Clinton the same way — the highest unfavorable ratings for likely general election candidates in the history of the survey. (A CNN/ORC poll released earlier this month found similar record unfavorable ratings for Trump and Clinton.)
“We need a campaign, an election, coming up which does not have two candidates who are really very, very strongly disliked,” Sanders said. “I don’t want to see the American people voting for the lesser of two evils. I want the American people to be voting for a vision of economic justice, of social justice, of environmental justice, of racial justice. That is the campaign we are running, and that’s why we are getting the support we are.”
Sanders also pointed out that he is consistently polling better against Trump than Clinton.
“If you look at virtually all of the polls done in the last six, seven weeks, in every one of them, nationally polls and statewide polls, we defeat Trump by larger margins — in some cases, significantly larger margins — than does Secretary Clinton,” he said.
Clinton’s lead over Trump has fallen from 11 points last month to just 3 (46 percent to 43 percent) in the new NBC/WSJ poll — a figure within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. The same poll showed Sanders well ahead of Trump, by 15 points (54 percent to 39 percent) in their theoretical general election matchup.
And an ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Saturday showed Trump with a 2-point lead over Clinton (46 percent to 44 percent) — an 11-point swing from early March, when Clinton led the real estate mogul by 9 points (50 percent to 41 percent).
On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sanders said that he still believes Clinton could defeat the presumptive Republican nominee in the fall, but that his appeal to independent voters ought to make the so-called Democratic superdelegates rethink their support for her.
“I’m not saying she cannot beat Donald Trump. I think she can,” the independent senator and self-described democratic socialist said. “There’s a good chance she can. I am the stronger candidate because we appeal to independents — people who are not in love with either the Democratic or Republican Party, often for very good reasons.”
Sanders continued: “Any objective assessment of our campaign versus Clinton’s camp I think will conclude we have the energy, we have the excitement, we have the young people, we have the working people, we can drive a large voter turnout, so that we not only win the White House but we regain control of the Senate,” Sanders said.
Clinton, for her part, dismissed the latest poll results.
“Polls this far out mean nothing,” she said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “They certainly mean nothing to me.”