All Polls Show Sanders as the Strongest Candidate to Win Presidency, but Democrats Likely to Select Clinton as the Nominee Anyway; Kasich the Strongest Republican but Trump Likelier to win that Nomination

Eric Zuesse

The latest report by RealClearPolitics, which includes all polls this month on hypothetical Presidential match-ups in the November general election, indicates that of all the major-Party candidates in the U.S. Presidential contest (Clinton, Sanders, Trump, Rubio, Cruz, and Kasich), generally the strongest candidate in match-ups against each one of the leading candidates of the opposite Party is Democrat Bernie Sanders. The strongest Republican is John Kasich.

Democrat Hillary Clinton loses by 7.4% to John Kasich, by 4.7% to Marco Rubio, and by 0.8% to Ted Cruz, and she wins by 2.8% over Donald Trump.

Democrat Bernie Sanders wins by 6.0% over Trump, by 4.7% over Cruz, by 0.5% over Kasich, and ties with Rubio.

Consequently, the strongest of all of the candidates, at this point in the contest, is clearly Democrat Sanders (who beats-or-ties all Republicans), but the next-strongest candidate is Republican John Kasich (who easily beats Clinton and virtually ties Sanders).

At this stage in the contest, rational voters whose main concern is to beat the opposite Party will be voting for Sanders if they are Democrats, and for Kasich if they are Republicans.

The most-detailed of the latest polls is the one taken February 10-15 February by Quinnipiac. They summarize it at the opening of their report:

American voters back Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont over Republican candidates by margins of 4 to 10 percentage points in head to head presidential match-ups, according to a Quinnipiac University National poll released today. The closest Republican contender is Ohio Gov. John Kasich who trails Sanders 45 – 41 percent. 

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton trails or ties leading Republicans in the November face-off.

However, the Fox News Poll that RealClearPolitics includes as being one of this month’s “General Election “ polls wasn’t that, but was instead a survey taken only of South Carolinians. It shouldn’t have been included in this tabulation of “General Election” polls. So, the latest two general-election polls are actually Quinnipiac’s and Suffolk University’s (for USA Today). That USA Today Poll, taken February 11-15, was summarized by USA Today by noting that Hillary Clinton is still the likely winner of the Democratic nomination because of her huge lead in the southern states — the early states, where almost all Democrats are Blacks and intend to vote for Clinton and against Sanders; consequently those southern Democrats might win the Democratic primaries and the nomination for Clinton, despite her being the weaker candidate against the Republican candidates and thus the likelier Democratic candidate to produce a Republican Presidency after November. USA Today also said: “Sanders does slightly better in match-ups against leading Republican candidates,” but noted that Clinton gets 50% of likely Democratic primary and caucus voters while Sanders gets only 40%. Furthermore, in the primaries and caucuses voting within the next two weeks, almost all of the states are southern, so Clinton will probably sweep nearly all of them, which would likely convince Democrats in other states that she’d be the strongest candidate to run against the ultimate Republican choice. This is the reason why bettors have odds favoring Clinton to become the nominee.

According to those two recent general-election polls, there is also an overwhelming likelihood that Trump will win the nomination though Kasich would likely be the far-stronger candidate against the Democratic nominee, regardless of whether that turns out to be Clinton or Sanders.

So, it seems probable that both Parties will reject their strongest candidate — Sanders for the Democratic Party, and Kasich for the Republican Party — because the earliest states to vote will be in the deep south, where racial conflicts have generally been the strongest. Both Party-organizations — Democratic and Republican — made that choice, and it gives the advantage, in both Parties, to the candidates who have exploited racial conflicts the most effectively for their own benefits.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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  • kimyo

    we have a stellar example of the results a sanders admin would deliver: the v.a. fiasco.

    first he denied there was a problem. he even went so far as to paint veterans awaiting care as whiners.

    then he tried to blame the right wing. it couldn’t be the incompetent/corrupt administrators, falsifying/destroying records, nope, obviously the problem is kochco et al.

    finally, he whipped up a huge bunch of funding and declared ‘crisis over’. (yet as of 9/2015 there were still 600,000 vets awaiting care)

    he’s demonstrated what happens when he’s in charge. it’s not pretty. it’s always ‘my hands were tied/the political reality is we can’t have nice things’. (nice things = justice)

    • PG

      Hardly a failure on his part, he trusted the people who were supposed to run the VA to do their jobs when he perceived a GOP threat to the VA. When presented with the evidence, he changed course and joined Sen. McCain in solving the problem, as a quote from one of the whistleblowers reveals:

      “Bernie initially came out like this was a Republican attack and was extremely defensive about it,” said Dr. Sam Foote, one of the primary whistle-blowers who revealed the delays at the veterans hospital in Phoenix. He said Mr. Sanders’s “impulse is to stick up for the little guy — and the V.A. serves a lot of little guys.”

      “But he is no dummy,” Dr. Foote said. “He quickly realized the V.A. was lying, and he turned right around and was all over them.”

      • kimyo

        he changed course and joined Sen. McCain in solving the problem

        any claim that the problem is ‘solved’ is manifestly false. the corrupt administrators are still in place. hundreds of thousands of veterans still await care.

  • Ramone


    Therefore, why bother to keep covering a reality show designed to entertain the brute and ignorant masses in America.

    Moreover, Eric Zuesse should stop whining about this nonsense and accept once and for all that Mrs. Clinton has already been selected to become the next president, you like it or not (and nothing will change this outcome).

    There are more relevant topics that can be discussed in this blog rather than giving attention to the ongoing circus called “Presidential Elections.”

    End of story.

  • Michael Daush

    Polls are not a prediction of the outcome of an election etc. They are used to TELL US WHAT TO THINK!”
    This article has no standing.