Hillary Clinton is not well-liked, generally, but most Democrats would rather see her be president than Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.
This paradoxical truism holds up in lots of different parts of the country: Clinton has a big advantage in name recognition, and has been endorsed by just about every establishment Democrat alive.
Minnesota is falling in line — so far, anyway: The results of a new Minnesota poll from the Star Tribune give Hillary a huge lead, more than two-to-one, over the Vermont socialist. Head-to-head, Clinton gets 59 percent support among Democrats, compared to a measly 25 percent for Sanders. Another 15 percent said they're undecided. (Just 1 percent picked Martin O'Malley; using the margin of error, it is possible that negative 4.7 percent of Minnesotans are backing O'Malley.)
Both Clinton and Sanders are popular with Minnesota's self-identified DFL voters, though Hillary (72 percent "favorable" rating) does considerably better than Sanders (60 percent) within the party. With a general audience, it's a different story. About 35 percent of all respondents like Clinton, compared with 52 percent who view her unfavorably; Sanders has a 36 percent to 38 percent favorable/unfavorable split, with a combined 26 percent of people saying they're either "neutral" or "undecided."
On the Republican side, Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (23 percent) and Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (21 percent) have the lead, followed by Fraggle Rock villain Donald Trump, with 18 percent.
The Star Tribune only tested the candidates head-to-head in a few scenarios, but those findings are revealing, too. Clinton would beat Trump in Minnesota, thank God, 43 percent to 38 percent, though Trump has a significant (48 percent to 34 percent) lead among men. (What the hell, guys?) But Clinton is just behind Cruz (45 percent to 43 percent) and well behind Rubio (49 percent to 41 percent) in a general election contest.
Sanders was only used in one such Democrat vs. Republican hypothetical: He crushes Trump, 53 percent to 37 percent, 10 points better than Clinton does in the same matchup.
The results might be surprising for folks whose Facebook and Twitter feeds are filled with #FeelTheBern excitement, and vintage photos and videos of the young, radical, frizzy-haired Sanders contrasted with the big-business, banking-friendly Clinton. If Sanders is capturing an excitable crowd of young liberals like Barack Obama did in 2008, it's not showing up in this poll.
Then again, there could be a reason for that. The survey suffers from the same problem as a lot of modern opinion polling. Some 70 percent of its respondents were reached on a landline telephone, with the other percent contacted on a cell phone. That's out of proportion to the number of landline phones still out there, and skews the results toward an older audience. (About 44 percent of U.S. homes were landline-free by the end of 2014, including half of those occupied by people between the ages of 18 and 44.)
That is: If, say, Killer Mike starts talking about Bernie Sanders at a rap concert, and the crowd holds their cellphones in the air, or starts Instagramming the moment with a #FeeltheBern hashtag...those people are not fully represented in this poll.
Whether they're fully represented on caucus day is up to them.
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