Perhaps it's too early to sound the alarm bells. But a new poll does find that, far from being a fringe candidate polling in the low single-digits, Vermont Senator and self-declared socialist Barry Sanders is climbing the polls in key battleground states.
In Wisconsin, for instance, he currently trails Hillary Clinton by only eight percentage points—a surprising feat given both his underdog status and far-left politics (via The Hill):
Wisconsin Democrats might not be ready for Hillary Clinton, as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) finished just 8 percentage points behind Clinton in a new Badger State straw poll.
Clinton finished with 49 percent of voters at the state party convention; Sanders finished in second place with 41 percent of the vote. Vice President Biden and former Gov. Martin O'Malley (Md.) tied at third with 3 percent of the vote. Former Sen. Jim Webb (Va.) followed with under 2 percent, and former Gov. Lincoln Chafee (R.I.) closed out the poll with 1 percent.
Hillary's erosion in support could be attributed to several factors; as The Hill notes, Sanders’ commitment to collective bargaining rights is certainly among them. Let's not forget that in a state like Wisconsin, that's a bread-and-butter issue. At the same time, my hunch is that mostly progressive activists participated in the survey, not average, run-of-the-mill primarygoers. This might explain why Sanders is currently exceeding all expectations, and, astonishingly, giving Hillaryworld cause for concern.
Nonetheless, this is the first sign we’ve seen anywhere, to my knowledge, that the polls are tightening even a little bit, and that another candidate other than Hillary Clinton is generating buzz and headlines.
We'll seen how long this lasts.