A recently released poll conducted by SurveyUSA for TEGNA’s KING5 has yielded a strong result for United States Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
26% of likely Democratic voters in Washington indicated that they would vote for the socialist senator, putting Sanders five points ahead of his closest rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and far in the lead of the other candidates in the race for the Democratic nomination.
- Senator Bernie Sanders (26%)
- Former Vice President Joe Biden (21%)
- Senator Elizabeth Warren (16%)
- Former Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg (12%)
- Former Mayor of South Bend Pete Buttigieg (8%)
- Entrepreneur Andrew Yang (4%)
- Senator Amy Klobuchar (3%)
- Billionaire Tom Steyer (2%)
Almost two thirds (64%) of respondents said they might change their minds between now and March 10th, the final day of Washington’s primary.
The results from the early states — like Iowa — might prompt some voters to change their minds. Polling averages predict a strong performance for Sanders in Iowa, but the unpredictable nature of the caucus system makes prediction a tricky business. If Sanders outperforms expectations, it could propel more Washingtonians to place their confidence in him; if he under performs, his support might take a hit in the next few weeks.
It is unsurprising that Sanders has a robust base of support Washington State. Sanders dominated the state’s Democratic caucuses in 2016, netting the vast majority of the state’s delegates to Philadelphia. (Caucuses have previously been used by the Washington State Democratic Party to allocate its national convention delegates, but the party will use a primary this year.)
Although Sanders bills himself as a democratic socialist, Washingtonians are much less susceptible to “Red Terror” nightmares than much of the rest of the country – a fact evidenced by the reelection of Kshama Sawant (a proud member of Socialist Alternative) to Seattle’s City Council last November.
Sanders also supports the Green New Deal and has introduced an array of proposals to tackle the climate crisis, which is an important political priority for Democratic voters in Cascadia.
While Sanders’ strong showing in KING 5 News’ poll was hardly a surprise to anyone, some political experts were taken aback by the depth and diversity of his support. Gone are the days of 2016, when Sanders struggled to win the support of non-white voters, while Hillary Clinton drew on well-established networks in minority communities.
This time around, Sanders is the candidate with the most diverse support. He came out top among black voters (35%) and Asian-American voters (44%), and came second place among Hispanics (24%, to Michael Bloomberg’s 27%). This news is doubly positive for the Sanders campaign, as Washington is one of the twenty most diverse states in the nation – whereas the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire are among the least diverse.
The deadline for Washingtonians to cast their ballots will arrive in the middle of the month where over 60% of the delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination will be allocated, which means Washington will be — in the words of one political observer — right in the thick of it.