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John Gregg: Those ‘Crazy’ Polls Showing Sanders Doing Well

Published: 5/11/2016 11:12:25 PM
Modified: 5/12/2016 9:49:34 AM

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders not only handily defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s West Virginia primary; he now has picked up new attention from Donald Trump.

Sanders took 51.4 percent of the vote in West Virginia’s Democratic primary, to just 35.8 percent for Clinton, making it the 19th state where he has prevailed. Clinton has won 23 states thus far.

On top of that, Sanders drew thousands of people to a rally Tuesday night in Salem, Ore., home to a primary next week. 

“There is no question about which campaign is energizing the American people,” Sanders said Tuesday. “If you want the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump, that’s us.”

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, tried to bait his rivals on Wednesday, tweeting out: “I don’t want to hit Crazy Bernie Sanders too hard yet because I love watching what he is doing to Crooked Hillary. His time will come!”

What Trump failed to mention is he is trailing Sanders in some important polls. Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver emailed supporters noting that Sanders leads Trump in the key swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, while Clinton trails Trump in Ohio and polls behind Sanders in the other two states.

And a Dartmouth College poll released earlier this week showed Clinton beating Trump by just 4 percentage points in New Hampshire, while Sanders had a 20-point lead over the New York developer.

The pro-Sanders PAC Democracy for America on Wednesday said the polls and West Virginia results show Sanders’ message is “resonating with actual voters.”

“Clearly, the American people don’t think there is anything ‘crazy’ about our political revolution,” DFA said. “These polls are proof that if Democrats want to beat Donald Trump in the fall, they’re going to need to prove to the electorate that their candidate will stand up for working families, promote bold progressive policies and energize young and independent voters.”

Clinton is a stronger candidate — and more formidable potential president — than her detractors give her credit for, but the Real Clear Politics polling average in California now shows her with just a 9.7 percentage point average lead over Sanders leading up to the Golden State’s June 7 primary.

Delegate math aside, if Clinton doesn’t beat Sanders in the biggest state in the country, Democrats may start asking themselves this: Can she really be her party’s best candidate?

N.H. Senate Bid

A Cheshire County Republican is running for the open seat in the Newport-area New Hampshire Senate District 8. Ruth Ward, a retired nurse practitioner from Stoddard, said in a news release that she plans to seek the GOP nomination for the seat, which includes the Upper Valley towns of Newport, Grantham, Sunapee, Croydon, Unity, Springfield and New London.

“I first ran and served for local office on the (Stoddard) Zoning Board and Planning Board, because I wanted to have a voice in the future of my community. While campaigning around my home town, I heard the same thing over and over again — ‘Nobody listens.’ Too many of us feel this way, that nobody listens to us here locally. I am running for state Senate because that needs to change,” Ward, who is in her late 70s and has also been active with the Appalachian Mountain Club, said in a news release.

Lempster Republican Jim Beard has already said he is running. And on the Democratic front, John Garvey, a University of New Hampshire School of Law professor from New London, is also in the race to succeed outgoing state Sen. Jerry Little, the Weare Republican who is to become the state’s banking commissioner.

Briefly Noted

Republican Scott Milne’s criticism of U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., over the EB-5 scandal in Vermont may have hit a nerve. The Leahy camp was busy this week changing the subject, touting passage of Leahy-backed legislation to revive and extend a federal matching grant program that has helped provide more than 1.2 million bulletproof vests to state and local law enforcement officers over the years.

New Hampshire voters who sometimes switch parties to vote have a deadline looming. May 31 is the deadline to make any changes to party affiliation before the state’s primary in September. Go to to see how you are registered.

U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., is slated to headline a fundraiser on Sunday at the Canoe Club in Hanover on behalf of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Colin Van Ostern, a member of the Executive Council.

Republicans in Hartford are holding a dinner at the VFW in White River Junction on May 19th with featured guests Lt. Gov. Phil Scott and Bruce Lisman, who are both running for governor, and former state Sen. Randy Brock, who is running for lieutenant governor. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for the $25 a head event. Contact Dan Hillard at 802-295-9044 to reserve a seat.


John P. Gregg can be reached at


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