Feeling the Bern seems to be still going strong, or Democrats like watching it from the sidelines, because a new poll shows they do not want the disheveled Democratic socialist from Vermont to drop out of the race. In fact, they want him to stay in all the way to the Democratic Party’s convention in Philadelphia this summer. Then again, the delegate lead Hillary Clinton has amassed over Sen. Bernie Sanders is almost insurmountable, but the fact that almost 60 percent of Democrats want Sanders to remain still reinforces that Hillary isn’t the left’s first choice (via the Hill):
Fifty-seven percent of Democrats said Sanders should stay in the race until the summer nominating event, according to a NBC News-Survey Monkey poll released Tuesday.
Only 25 percent said he should drop out after the last votes are cast on June 14 in the final Democratic primary in Washington, DC. Sixteen percent said Sanders should drop out now.
Clinton leads Sanders by about 300 delegates with just over 1,000 still up for grabs. Because Democrats award their delegates proportionately, Sanders would have to defeat Clinton by huge margins in the remaining states to catch her.
Even if he does, which is unlikely, Clinton has a huge lead among superdelegates who have pledged to support her at the convention. Those votes are likely to put her over the top for the nomination.
Over at the Washington Post, Philip Bump wrote that Sanders could forced a contested convention, but it’s doubtful he could emerge victorious:
Back in the halcyon days of Sanders's "momentum," when he'd won seven of eight contests in a row, including a big win in Washington, his argument was that the momentum would propel him through the end of the voting in June, offering a compelling argument to superdelegates that the will of the party now rested with him, and that Clinton's early support was therefore negated. Then he lost five of the last six races — and Clinton's delegate lead returned to about what it was in the middle of March. The momentum was, as many had suspected, a function of several Sanders-favorable races clustered in a short window (as was the recent streak by Clinton). The race hadn't really changed at all.
Now, it seems, Sanders's argument will be that his strong performances at the tail end of the contest, including a win in California — coupled with close national polling — should provide the same motivation to superdelegates to embrace his candidacy. Sanders is who the party now wants to win.
There are a few flaws in that argument, including that Sanders's one-point deficit in the national Real Clear Politics polling average — which came right after those seven wins — has now widened to four points. The biggest problem for Sanders, though, is that, unlike on the Republican side, California isn't the last contest. The last contest for the Democrats is the D.C. primary, on June 14. And there is essentially no way that Clinton will lose that contest, given how strongly she has performed in places with large black populations.
On CBS on Sunday, Sanders insisted that his campaign might still win the majority of pledged delegates. "We need to win 65 percent of those votes," he said of the remaining total. "The states coming up are favorable to us."
The problem for Sanders is, as it has always been, that Democratic contests are all proportional. He needs to win every state by a wide margin to hit his goal. The other problem for him is that nearly half of the remaining delegates are in California. If he and Clinton essentially tie there — or even if he wins by five points, which polling suggests won't happen — he needs three-quarters of the delegates everywhere else to make up for it (including New Jersey and D.C.).
Could he win pledged delegates? Yes, in the sense that he could win the lottery.
Still, concerning strength, Sanders has let go hundreds of campaign workers, and he’s started to shift from attacking Hillary to where he wants the Democratic Party to go in the future in his stump speeches; a signal that he’s beginning to see that the ride is almost over. He’s raised millions, along with being the candidate who has spent the most this cycle, even outraising the Clinton machine, but that’s also ended with the April fundraising hauls. So, the Sanders camp seems to be buckling a bit. Nevertheless, he definitely has enough money to last him until July, although he will have to contend with the criticism that he’s splintering the party at a time when they could unite and exploit the deep divisions with Republicans over Trump. At the same time, regardless of who wins the Democratic nomination—if Trump becomes the standard bearer for the GOP, it’s not far off to suggest that Democrats will turn out in droves to stop him. Democrats have a united party regardless of who wins, or what convention drama that will unfold in Philadelphia. The same cannot be said for Republicans at present.