Former Obama Advisor Says People Should Take Bernie Sanders 'Very Seriously' After Rise in Polling

Former Obama senior advisor and Pod Save America co-host Dan Pfeiffer said Senator Bernie Sanders is a serious contender to receive the Democratic nomination, after a recent jump in national and early-state polls.

Pfeiffer told Politico that "people should take [Sanders] very seriously." He said that Sanders has very good chances in the states with early primaries and caucuses.

"He has a very good shot of winning Iowa, a very good shot of winning New Hampshire, and other than Joe Biden, the best shot of winning Nevada," said Pfeiffer, noting that these early odds improved Sanders' chances going forward. "He could build a real head of steam heading into South Carolina and Super Tuesday," a Tuesday early in the primaries where the most states hold primaries and caucuses. That falls on March 3, 2020, with Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia holding primaries.

Pfeiffer served as a strategy and communications senior advisor to President Barack Obama during the president's second term; he had worked for the Obama-Biden transition team after Obama's victory in the 2008 presidential election. Prior to being appointed senior advisor, Pfeiffer served as White House communications director. In June 2018, he published his first book Yes We (Still) Can: Politics in the Age of Obama, Twitter, and Trump. His next book, Un-Trumping America, will be released in February 2020.

As Sanders stays in the race, it is more likely that voters will closely analyze his electability. "That conversation has never worked well for anyone," Pfeiffer told Politico.

Both Pfeiffer and the Sanders campaign did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment.

According to Real Clear Politics, Sanders polled second in many Democratic presidential nominee polls. In most surveys, the Vermont senator is trailing just behind former Vice President Joe Biden. A recent CNN poll showed that more Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independents have a favorable opinion of Sanders than any other candidate. And an Iowa State University poll showed Sanders slightly behind South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

While some political experts view Sanders as a candidate with strong potential, some Democrats still don't think Sanders will win the the party's nomination. Co-founder Matt Bennett of Third Way, a center-left national think tank, told Politico that Sanders is "bouncing around between his ceiling and his floor a little bit more than people had thought he would" and "can't win the nomination."

Third Way did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

bernie sanders
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during the Democratic presidential primary debate at Loyola Marymount University on December 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty