This election cycle we’ve an unparalleled level of negativity towards the frontrunners on both sides of the political spectrum from their own party members.
On the right is the “Never Trump” crowd – those who refused to pledge their support to Donald Trump even after all other candidates dropped out. Many of those initially reluctant to rally their support behind Trump but see him as the lesser of two evils have instead adopted a “Never Hillary” attitude.
And on the left side of the aisle, Hillary is facing a “Never Hillary” problem too – from Bernie Sanders supporters. As the liberals at the far-left Salon bemoan: One of the most striking—and disturbing—takeaways from last Tuesday’s West Virginia Democratic primary were exit polls that found large numbers of Bernie Sanders supporters saying if not Bernie, they would actually vote for Donald Trump next fall.
CBS News reported 44 percent said they’d vote for Trump, 23 percent for Hillary Clinton, and 32 percent for neither. These findings—especially Sanders’ supporters shifting to Trump—seem like a stretch, but maybe they’re not.
This is an increase from earlier polls that showed a third of Sanders supporters refusing to support Hillary. Even more interesting is the 32 percent in WV who will vote for neither candidate – meaning that 55 percent of the state’s Sanders supporters don’t be backing Hillary. A liberal voting for nobody is essentially a vote for Trump too.
Additionally, in January Mercury Analytics found that while 20 percent of (all) Democrats would defect to Trump, only 14 percent of Republicans would defect to Hillary. While both candidates are notoriously unpopular, even among members of their own party, Democrats dislike Hillary more than Republicans dislike Trump.
The question for millions of Sanders supporters nationwide is not so much are they going to vote for Trump, but whether they will vote for Clinton if she edges out Sanders for the Democratic nomination. The campaign has a Bernie or Bust subset, whose website claims it has “99,000+ people” who vowed to write in Sanders’ name or support the Green Party candidate in November, and hopes its ranks will reach 1 million people.
I never thought I’d ever say this – but I hope Salon is right.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]