“Right now in every major poll, national poll and statewide poll done in the last month, six weeks, we are defeating Trump often by big numbers, and always at a larger margin than Secretary Clinton is.”
That’s what Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton’s Democratic rival in the primary, said back in May.
It’s not the first time the former Mayor of Burlington made the claim, and as it turns out, he was right – Sanders would have defeated Trump in a landslide.
Back in the Democratic primaries, whether Sanders or Clinton could defeat Trump in the general election quickly became one of the most controversial talking points, with Sanders repeatedly warning voters of Clinton’s fledgling polls against the Republican contender.
In May, Clinton was projected to lose to Trump by at least two percent. Sanders also won in a major upset against his opponent in Michigan and Wisconsin – two states Clinton lost to Trump.
And when Sanders conceded to Clinton at the Democratic National Convention, the two career-politicians worked together to create a policy agenda that reflected nearly 80 percent of Sanders’ campaign platforms.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) November 8, 2016
But, as The Independent points out, it was not just anecdotal evidence that pointed to a potential Sanders win against Trump. A series of polls suggested that the Vermont senator – with his calls for free college tuition, the removal of student debt, a national health service and the removal of big money from politics – would have stood a better chance against Trump than Clinton.
On May 3, a CBS News-New York Times poll gave Clinton a six point advantage over Trump, but said Sanders would win by 13 points.
On May 15, a poll by NBC News-Wall Street Journal said Clinton would beat Trump by three points, but said Sanders would win by 15 points.
Fox News also said Trump would lose to Clinton by three points, but said Sanders would win by four.
But it isn’t clear whether Sanders would have effectively eliminated Trump in the general election – Clinton was polling with a significant edge up until Election Day, maintaining a four-point-lead in national polls.
Could Sanders have pulled off what Hillary Clinton couldn’t?