Could Bernie Sanders Beat Trump in 2020? Majority Say They Wouldn’t Vote for a ‘Socialist’

The surprising traction Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders found in his 2016 presidential run paired with the recent meteoric rise of New York Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez into national politics could give the impression of rising support for socialist lawmakers.

But the vast majority of voters are still not interested.

Seventy-six percent of Americans said they would not vote for a “socialist” political candidate, while just 24 percent said they would, according to a new Hill.TV/HarrisX American Barometer poll released Tuesday.

The poll results fly in the face of a joint effort by Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez to push their Democratic-Socialism platform more into mainstream politics ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. The two took their message to Kansas City earlier this month to campaign for House of Representatives candidate Brett Welder and to test their messaging on Democratic voters in red states.

“I don’t believe there are red states or blue states or purple states,” Sanders said. “I believe that any state in this country where working people are struggling is a state that’s ready to vote for justice.”

“They said what we did in the Bronx no one would care about in Kansas,” Ocasio-Cortez said of her upset of Joe Crowley, a top-ranking House Democrat, in June. “They told me I would not be welcome. But you have proven them wrong.”

The poll results also showed that even among Democratic voters, the “socialist” label is still not popular. Sixty-four percent of Democratic respondents said they would not vote for a “socialist,” while 59 percent of voters who said they voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 said they would not support a socialist.

Despite what the poll results show, Sanders remains the most popular senator in the entire U.S. Senate. His 2016 campaign manager, Jeff Weavers, told C-Span in May that Sanders is “considering another run for the presidency.” A projection poll from Quinnipiac in May showed Sanders beating Trump by 10 points in a general election.

Democratic Party leadership has largely dismissed insurgent democratic socialist candidates as a regional trend more than a reflection on the Democratic Party as a whole. “It’s ascendant in that district perhaps,” House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi told CBS News in June of Ocasio-Cortez’s win. “But I don’t accept any characterization of our party presented by the Republicans, so let me reject that right now.”

The poll was conducted between July 21 and July 22 with a sample of 1,001 Americans.

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