I know I’ve been beating this like a drum, but that damn April Emerson poll keeps rearing its godawful ugly ass head. For those who don’t know what I’m referring to (probably a mark in your favor), in April, Emerson polling released the results of a monthly poll, in which they asked supporters of Democratic primary candidates whom they would support if their candidate lost: the Democratic winner or Trump? According to the poll, 26% of Sanders supporters said they would choose Trump over Warren. Needless to say, there was much fury on the internets over this finding. It clearly supported the notion that the BERNIEBROS! BOOGA! BOOGA! were sexist misogynists who would never vote for a woman, and are the Problem the Democratic Party Faces and That Must Be Disavowed By Sanders. At the same time, people I’ve never heard of DEMANDED that Sanders address this problem among his followers (weird how Sanders supporters are often referred to as followers and not using the more mundane term supporters. But I digress).
Before I get to how stupid and unsubstantiated this claim is, it’s important to discuss why it matters. Full disclosure: were I voting today, I would vote for Warren. If things go as I hope they do and Warren receives the nomination, we will need Sanders’ supporters. Attack Sanders all you want (pretty sure he can take it), but falsely accusing his supporters doesn’t help the party rally. Ok, onto the debunking.
The first thing to note is that the April Emerson poll did have 26% of Sanders supporters saying they would support Trump over Warren. The same poll also found that 12.5% of Warren supporters would support Trump over Warren her very own self.
Yup. It really did. Do you really believe that? (as the kids used to say, disturbing if true…).
The second thing to note is, that in the May, June, July, and August Emerson polls, Sanders supporters indicated a crossover vote of about 8 – 12 percent; not awesome, would like it much lower, but within historical averages–and far better than 2008 Clinton primary supporters. Why do roughly ten percent of primary supporters jump ship (and Republicans do this too), especially when presented with radically different policies and ideologies? Hell if I know (and if I did know, I sure wouldn’t blabber about it on the internet, I would become stinking filthy rich selling that advice…). Nonetheless, voters do this.
The final point is that there are as many or more Biden-or-busters–those would vote for Trump in a Trump versus Warren contest–as there as Bernie-or-busters. Yet for some reason, we never hear about how ‘radical centrists’ risk splitting the party with their divisiveness, even though Biden supporters are just as likely to be ‘disloyal.’
When people with high follower counts push this crap (and it then unfortunately gets picked up by elected officials trying to rally party), this is immensely destructive. None of us are perfect, but attacking people for things they didn’t do never helps.
Appealing to preconceived notions might be good for your follower count though.